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African consortium WACS to extend its submarine cable system from Portugal to the UK with Alcatel-Lucent’s 40G ultra-fast optical technology


First implementation of enhanced restoration capabilities using GMPLS* enhances network intelligence and resiliency over a large submarine system

Paris - Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) will extend the West Africa Cable System (WACS) from Portugal to the UK to meet the increasing need for capacity driven by broadband services penetration. Spanning 2,000 km and operating at 40 gigabit per second (40G), this new section will increase the overall design capacity from 3.8 Terabit/s (Tbit/s) to 5.12 Tbit/s, equal to the download of 8 million MP3 files or over 8 thousand DVDs in 60 seconds.

This extension follows the recent successful field trial with Alcatel-Lucent of 40G solution, which also leverages next-generation coherent technology, and will further bolster connectivity along the Africa-Europe route, by enabling improved communications and Internet services that are crucial for a social and economic development.

The WACS consortium is composed of 12 parties: Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable & Wireless, Congo Telecom, MTN, Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunications,Portugal Telecom / Cabo Verde Telecom, Tata Communications / Neotel, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA, Togo Telecom and Vodacom.

With commercial service expected by 2011, WACS will provide Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and the Republic of Congo with the first direct access to the global submarine cable communication network. It will connect South Africa to the UK with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and Portugal.

Under the terms of this contract extension, WACS will deploy advanced GMPLS capabilities providing dynamic and automated service provisioning for highest quality of service. Thanks to this ‘intelligent’ network management, WACS will be able to optimize the network’s resource usage which will improve the network’s resiliency.

“The African continent is definitely one of the continents still yearning for affordable connectivity. Meeting the needs for increased capacity along the cable route, this network will enable the landing countries to be served by a new system offering greater capacity and lowering the cost of broadband access in support of innovative applications such as e-education and e-health that can positively impact peoples’ lives,” said Kobus Stoeder, Chairman of the WACS Management Committee. “The Alcatel-Lucent solution optimally meets our key requirements for multi-vendor compatibility, network availability and traffic protection to deliver the highest service reliability.”

“As traffic grows, service providers need to optimize their networks in support of end-users’ bandwidth demands for broadband services” said Philippe Dumont, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s submarine network activity. “Our newest 40G technology, combined with our leading-edge protection capabilities, will accelerate the provisioning of connectivity and enhanced network resilience so that end-users can enjoy the best experience possible.”

* About GMPLS
Generalized MPLS (GMPLS) extends MPLS to provide the control plane (signalling and routing) for devices that switch in different domains, including wavelength, and fibre. This common control plane simplifies network operation and management by automating end-to-end provisioning of connections, managing network resources, and providing the level of QoS that is expected in new, sophisticated applications.

The Alcatel-Lucent solution for WACS
Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its advance submarine line terminal (1620 Light Manager), which works at up to 40G and also uses advanced phase shift keying (PSK)-based modulation formats to deal with transmission impairments in a cost-effective and automated manner. As part of the solution, Alcatel-Lucent will also deploy its 1678 Metro Core Connect in the landing points and will offer advanced dynamic networking based on Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) to simplify network operation and management.

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog and follow us on Twitter: external link


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