The ACE submarine fiber optic cable from France has landed in the Gambia in what would potentially change the bandwidth access and Internet penetration in one of Africa’s most attractive tourist destinations.
The ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) submarine communications cable system connects a host of African countries across the West Coast of Africa From France down to South Africa in what could be one of the longest undersea connections on the continent stretching over 14,000 km with a minimum capacity of 1.92 Tbit/s. ACE comes with Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) which works seamlessly with existing submarine cables.
Countries expected to be connected by ACE include: France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Canary Islands (Spain), Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Namibia, and South Africa.
The ACE is owned by a consortium of financiers consisting of seventeen telecommunications operators. They operators include: Benin Telecoms SA, Camtel, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicações, Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, France Télécom, Gamtel(Gambia Telecom), Maroc Telecom, Mauritano-Tunisienne des Télécommunications, Orange Bissau, Orange Cameroun, Orange Guinée, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, Orange Spain, Portugal Telecom, Sonatel and Togo Telecom). The ACE consortium currently serves as joint owners of the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE and the Atlantis submarine cables.
In 2008, Gambia’s incumbent telco, Gamtel had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Africa Cable to Europe (ACE) consortium for the acquisition of a submarine cable landing point in Gambia. In The Gambia, under the Public-Private Partnership Initiative, a Special Purpose Vehicle was formed to own and manage the submarine cable. Unique Solutions is part of the SPV.