West African Cable System Enters Service
The West African Cable System (WACS), a 14,500-kilometre submarine cable running from South Africa to the United Kingdom, officially entered service on 11 May 2012.
- The WACS cable cost approximately USD650 million and has a design capacity of 5.12 Tbps, of which it is initially lit (activated) at 500 Gbps.
- The WACS cable connects South Africa to the UK with landings in 12 countries en route: Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo), Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Portugal.
- WACS is notably the first submarine cable to land in Namibia, DRCongo, Congo-Brazzaville and Togo.
In April 2009 the WACS consortium awarded a contract to Alcatel-Lucent to deploy a submarine cable from South Africa to Portugal via 12 West and Southern African countries, with a design capacity of 3.84 Tbps (see Sub-Saharan Africa: 9 April 2009: WACS Consortium Awards Submarine Cable Contract to Alcatel-Lucent). The trunk route from South Africa to Portugal is some 11,500 kilometres long.
In August 2010, the WACS consortium then announced that it had amended its contract with Alcatel-Lucent to extend the cable from Portugal to the UK and to upgrade its design capacity from 3.84 Tbps to 5.12 Tbps (see Sub-Saharan Africa: 26 August 2010: WACS Consortium Extends Submarine Cable from Portugal to UK). The extension to the UK increases the length of the trunk route to 14,500 kilometres and, together with spurs to individual countries, the total cable length reaches some 17,200 kilometres.
The WACS cable contains four fibre pairs linking South Africa to Portugal, with an extension segment to the UK and points of presence in London. The configuration comprises an express fibre pair interconnecting South Africa, Portugal and the UK; a semi-express fibre pair interconnecting South Africa, Nigeria and the UK; a semi-express fibre pair interconnecting South Africa, Angola, DRCongo, Côte d'Ivoire and the UK; and an omnibus fibre pair interconnecting South Africa, Namibia, DRCongo, Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK.
The entry into service of the WACS cables dramatically increases the amount of international bandwidth available to the region. With a total design capacity of 5.12 Tbps, for example, the WACS cable has 15 times the capacity of the SAT-3/WASC cable, which entered into service in 2002 and was later upgraded from 120 Gbps to 340 Gbps. Vodacom said in a company press release that the WACS cable adds more than 40% to South Africa's existing international broadband capacity.
WACS is the sixth submarine cable to serve West Africa after the SAT-2 (1993: South Africa), SAT-3/WASC (2002: South Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal), Atlantis-2 (2000: Cape Verde, Senegal), Main One (2011: Nigeria, Ghana) and Glo-1 (2011: Nigeria, Ghana) cables. It is the sixth cable to land in South Africa (after SAT-2, SAT-3/WASC, SAFE, SEACOM, EASSy), fourth in both Nigeria and Ghana (SAT-3/WASC, Main One, GLO-1), and the second in Angola, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire (SAT-3/WASC) and Cape Verde (Atlantis-2). WACS is notably the first submarine cable to land in Namibia, DRCongo, Congo-Brazzaville and Togo.
Two more submarine cables serving sub-Saharan Africa are due to enter service during 2012: Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) and the Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS; see Sub-Saharan Africa: 9 June 2010: ACE Consortium Signs Construction and Maintenance Agreement for African Submarine Cable and Seychelles: 22 November 2010: Seychelles Cable System Awards Contract to Alcatel-Lucent).
- Indian government releases DPCO 2013, expanding price controls to 652 drugs
- Key US data releases and events
- Pfizer, Takeda to receive USD2.15 bil. from settlement agreement over Protonix with Teva, Sun Pharma
- Chinese vehicle sales rise, local OEM Chery sees demand drop – CAAM
- Passenger vehicle demand props up overall sales in China during May – CAAM
- Ford struggles to meet Fusion demand, to unveil new Lincoln CUV by year-end
- Anti-capitalist and republican security threats dominate preparations for G8 summit in Northern Ireland
- Unprecedented police raid shakes Czech government's fragile stability
- Global Economic Impact of the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster
- Battle of Aleppo will be pivotal for Syrian conflict