Orange launches undersea, terrestrial fibre-optic network for West Africa
Until now, telecommunications networks in the region were built inside each country.
French telecoms giant, Orange, said on Tuesday that it has commissioned and commercially launched the first pan-West African backbone network aimed at meeting the growing needs for connectivity in West Africa and stimulating the digital economy of the region.
The new backbone is called Djoliba. It is a connectivity infrastructure, comprising more than 10,000 kilometres (km) of terrestrial fibre-optic network, coupled with 10,000km of undersea cables. Covering eight countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali and Senegal – Djoliba is considered the first unified superfast broadband network that provides seamless connectivity, with better availability in the region.
According to Orange, the network's broadband provision is up to 100 Gigabit per second (Gbit/s) with a 99.99 per cent availability rate. This is made possible thanks to network redundancy and security, and excellent quality of service. The Paris-based mobile operator said the backbone is natively interconnected with the domestic networks within the countries.
“Orange is actively contributing to the development of undersea and terrestrial infrastructure which enable the African continent’s digital transformation, by investing 1 billion euros each year,” said Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa. “Development of access to digital technology is a key challenge for Africa and I would like to congratulate our teams in all the countries for their remarkable work that has enabled the Djoliba project to come to fruition.”
Orange said the backbone network will play a key role in West Africa’s future internet growth. Until now, telecommunications networks in the region were built inside each country. There was no cross-border network. To provide a service between two capitals, operators had to integrate the offers of several providers and join different networks, interconnecting them at the borders. The telecoms company said Djoliba is an innovation that simplifies the interconnection processes between countries.
“With Djoliba, Orange is once again confirming its expertise and leadership in the deployment and operation of international terrestrial and undersea networks. Consequently, all the operators, companies and institutions in West Africa now benefit from seamless connectivity that is open to the whole world, thanks to a single customer point of contact and unparalleled service availability,” said Jérôme Barré, CEO of Orange Wholesale & International Networks.
The network covers 16 points of presence (POPs) with a grid of nearly 155 technical sites, and connects 300 POPs in Europe, America and Asia. POPs are local access points that connects to and helps Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other devices establish a connection with the internet. Djoliba is operated and maintained from Dakar, Senegal.
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