Alcatel-Lucent has signed up to maintain two of the undersea cables connecting Africa to Europe. 
It has signed a contract with the West Africa Cable System (WACS) consortium for the maintenance of more than 9 000km of the WACS system linking South Africa to Portugal.
In commercial service since May 2012, WACS interconnects 13 African countries, unleashing a new wave of broadband capacity on the continent and enhancing international connectivity.
Under the new agreement WACS will join the Atlantic Private Maintenance Agreement (APMA), allowing the consortium to access Alcatel-Lucent’s maintenance vessels, as well as experienced, fully trained, and certified specialist personnel for cable repairs.
In delivering high-speed bandwidth of more than 5Tbps, the WACS infrastructure provides open access to regional telecom operators and Internet service providers. Furthermore, it contributes to opening up broadband in Africa, lowering the cost of access and allowing the delivery of innovative applications such as e-education and e-health, contributing to the improvement of people’s lives.
“With the start of its commercial service, WACS is already giving impetus to African economies along its cable route. This makes it even more critical to ensure optimal network availability and quality of service,” says Dr Angus Hay, chairman of WACS Management Committee.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s world-class technical support and capabilities, including state-of-the-art cable ships, will further enhance the reliability that our low-latency system delivers to meet the performance and stability required.
“This contract underlines Alcatel-Lucent’s leading role as a marine service provider, helping operators maintain their networks with the highest standards of service reliability and at the highest level of end-to-end efficiency,” says Philippe Dumont, president of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks.
“With the recent establishment of our depot in Cape Verde, we are able to offer the shortest possible mobilisation time for any repair operations off West Africa.”
Alcatel-Lucent has also signed a contract with the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium for the maintenance of more than 6 300km of the ACE system linking Africa to Portugal. In commercial service since December 2012, ACE interconnects today 15 African countries, seven of which has been connected to the global Internet backbone for the first time.
With an ultimate design capacity of 5,12Tbps, ACE provides a high speed data network that cost-effectively support innovative broadband services such as e-education and healthcare applications and that is designed to address present and future needs for connectivity and capacity.
The overall system spans 17 000km, linking South Africa to France – via Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Tenerife (Spain) and Portugal.
ACE joins other African systems into the APMA, allowing operators to access Alcatel-Lucent’s maintenance vessels, as well as certified specialist personnel for cable repairs.
“Since its commercial service, ACE has delivered fast and cost-effective capacity to end-users, demonstrating to be a valid alternative route to provide everyone with broadband access,” says Yves Ruggeri, chairman of the consortium’s management committee.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s turnkey expertise and experience will help us maintain the reliability and continuity of services that are so crucial to social and economic development.”