Alcatel-Lucent has won a $500 million contract to build a subsea cable along Africa’s west coast.
The 17,000 kilometer cable will run from Cape Town in South Africa to Penmarch in France and is due to start commercial service in the first half of 2012.
The 20-member cable consortium is led by France Telecom and also includes telcos from Benin, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, among others.
It has initial capacity of 40Gbps and design capacity of 5.12Tbps.
The system is the first high-speed cable for a number of the world’s poorest countries and is part of a wave of cable-building around the continent.
The EASSy system on Africa’s east coast - also built by Alcatel-Lucent – began service last year. The Glo-1 cable between Nigeria, Ghana and the UK, is completed and is due to begin service this month.