Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade EASSy submarine cable system along Africa’s eastern and southern coast

Workers haul part of a fibre optic cable

Paris, January 22, 2014 — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is to upgrade the EASSy submarine cable system, one of the largest and most modern systems serving Africa, with the deployment of the latest 100 gigabit-per-second (Gbit/s) technology.

Alcatel-Lucent‘s 100G technology will enable the system to ultimately carry capacity in excess of 10Tbit/s, further complementing its ability to carry high volumes of data capacity on the EASSy system, which runs 10,000km from South Africa to Sudan, in support of the continued explosion of data traffic in Africa.  Alcatel-Lucent will leverage its unmatched experience of deployments around Africa to provide this upgrade within EASSy’s requested timeframe.

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EASSy is owned and operated by a group of 17 African and international shareholders – all telecommunications operators and service providers. The system is implemented in a protected ring configuration linking eight countries from Sudan to South Africa, via Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Comores and Mozambique. Landings are located in Port Sudan, Djibouti (Djibouti), Mombasa (Kenya), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Moroni (Comores), Toliary (Madagascar), Maputo (Mozambique) and Mtunzini (South Africa). The system also addresses a wide range of international destinations through interconnection with multiple international submarine cable networks for diverse, seamless onward connectivity to Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.

Chris Wood, Chairman of the EASSy Management Committee said: “Since EASSy entered service in 2010, we have seen enormous growth in demand for capacity on the system, reflecting the service quality and reliability that we have been able to offer. This upgrade will add an additional 400Gbps of capacity throughout the system, using Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent 100Gbit/s technology, and enables us to take a further step in offering our customers the ultra-broadband capacity needed for innovative services and applications.”

Philippe Dumont, President of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, said: “We are pleased to continue our cooperation with EASSy owners following the initial deployment and subsequent upgrades to higher speeds. With staged upgrades until now, this latest upgrade using our 100Gbit/s technology confirms Alcatel-Lucent as the leading innovation partner to address evolving connectivity needs over time whilst meeting the low-latency and the resilience requirements that our customers demand.”

Image: Getty

About the Alcatel-Lucent solution

The Alcatel-Lucent solution is based on the 1620 Light Manager (LM) submarine line terminal equipment using coherent technology at 100Gbit/s to provide the most efficient use of the available optical spectrum. The 1620 LM offers optimal scalability and flexibility thanks to its use of Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent technology, which also incorporates the latest Soft Decision Forward Error Correction (SDFEC) technology to provide highest ultimate capacity at the same time as lowest cost per bit. Additionally, Alcatel-Lucent’s technology offers multi-vendor adaptability. With more than 100 upgrades completed over the years, Alcatel-Lucent’s field-proven submarine technology offers carriers, service providers, multi-media and content providers a seamless path to expand their networks in an efficient and cost-effective way thanks to the 1620LM’s compatibility with the latest state-of-the-art technology without modification to the existing hardware infrastructure.

More about EASSy

EASSy is based on a two-fibre-pair “collapsed ring” configuration, providing traffic protection in the event of branch cable cuts or equipment failures – delivering a high degree of robustness, high reliability and low outage time. It interconnects with multiple submarine cable and terrestrial fibre-optic networks for onward connectivity into Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. In related projects, investors in the EASSy system, and others, continue to extend connectivity inland via terrestrial fibre networks that link coastal and land-locked countries to the cable.