Alcatel-Lucent has signed a turnkey contract with the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) consortium to lay the first ever optical submarine cable network landing in East Africa. 

Although no financial details were available, the 9 900km undersea cable project is expected to cost about $240-million.
“This project represents a milestone in the development of the African communication infrastructure where there is a strong need for optical connectivity,” says Sammy Kirui, Chairman of the EASSy Project Management Committee and MD of Telkom Kenya. “Alcatel-Lucent is recognised as one of the key turnkey suppliers in the submarine cable market and was selected through a competitive tendering process.”
Jean Godeluck, president of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network activity, says: “Globalisation of the economy and the Internet have enhanced communications, and submarine networks contribute greatly by connecting almost every corner in the world.
“Our turnkey approach to projects allows consortia like EASSy to continue breaking barriers and extending communications capabilities to those areas which are not adequately served.”
Based on Alcatel-Lucent’s submarine and terrestrial optical solutions, the company says EASSy will provide connectivity across the continent to support the increase in local traffic from both traditional and new broadband services.
Additionally, with interconnection to other submarine cable systems to the north and south, this project will provide an international gateway, crucial for the economic development of the region.
With completion scheduled by the end of 2008, the EASSy submarine network will deliver a regional capacity of 320 Gbit/s.
Governments, public administrations and businesses, Alcatel-Lucent says, will be able to leverage advanced technology to support new applications such as remote medical diagnosis and international call centres. Consumers will also benefit from more accessible and more affordable broadband Internet.
The EASSy submarine network will span nearly 10 000 km, linking eight countries from Sudan to South Africa, via Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique.
Landings will be located in Port Sudan, Djibouti (Djibouti), Mogadishu (Somalia) Mombasa (Kenya), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Toliary (Madagascar), Maputo (Mozambique) and Mtunzini (South Africa).
By interconnecting with Sea-Me-We 3, Sea-Me-We 4, SAS1, Falcon and SAT3/ WASC /SAFE, the EASSy submarine cable system will also serve as a supporting infrastructure for these networks.
The Alcatel-Lucent submarine solution will be based on its 1620 Light Manager next-generation DWDM submarine platform and will also include cables and submarine repeaters.
Branching units will ensure direct connectivity to landing stations where Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC) for terrestrial interconnection.
The Alcatel-Lucent 1350 management system will supervise all the equipment supplied. A comprehensive suite of professional services, including project management, engineering, marine operation, and installation testing and commissioning, is part of the turnkey project.