France Telecom Backs ACE Cable

France Telecom-Orange signs the construction agreement for the new 'Africa Coast to Europe' submarine cable

June 8, 2010

1 Min Read

PARIS -- The 20 members of the ACE consortium have signed the agreement for the construction and maintenance of the Africa Coast to Europe submarine cable, which will run between France and South Africa. By signing this agreement, France Telecom-Orange has reinforced its presence in Africa and furthered its ambition to democratize Internet access in the region. The ACE cable will reduce the cost of access to international telecommunications networks, thereby removing a major barrier to the Internet's development in Africa. An official ceremony was held at the Eiffel tower on 5 June to mark the signature of this contract. The event was chaired by Stéphane Richard, CEO of France Telecom, in the presence of the other consortium members as well as official representatives of the countries involved.

In its planned configuration, the 17,000 km-long fiber optic cable will be operational in the first half of 2012. It will connect 23 countries, either directly in the case of coastal countries or indirectly for landlocked countries.

This will be the first international submarine cable to land in Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. For Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, which are already connected to the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable (also co-owned by France Telecom-Orange), ACE will secure communications traffic while providing the additional capacity necessary for future growth.

ACE will also provide the Group's subsidiaries in eastern Africa and Réunion with an alternative for routing telecommunications traffic (voice and data) to Europe via western Africa. The northern segment of the cable will also diversify transmission arteries between France and Portugal.

Orange (NYSE: FTE)

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