By Peter Bernstein, Next Generation Communications

The connected ultra-broadband world will become that much more connected as a result of the announcement from Alcatel-Lucent (NewsAlert) that the company and the Algerian Ministry of Post, Information Technology and Communications, have signed a turnkey agreement for the deployment of the Orval system, an over 560 km fiber-optic undersea cable that will link Oran in Algeria to Valencia, Spain.

While the focus is on connectivity between Algeria and Spain, it reflects the growing importance of having high-speed connections between Europe and Africa in general.  With completion expected in 2016, the 100 gigabit-per-second system will deliver an ultimate design capacity of 20 terabit-per-seconds. As noted in the announcement, this type of speed and capacity will facilitate delivery of broadband services to an estimated 42 million Internet customers in Algeria and Spain.

Along with providing subscribers broadband services, another reason cited for the Orval submarine cable system is its foundational role in the Orsec Plan. This plan by the Algerian Ministry is designed to assure Algeria has the ability to survive natural disasters and came to fruition as a result of the devastation caused by the major earthquake in 2003 which resulted in Algeria losing much if not all of its ability to connect to the international communications grid.

For its part, Alcatel-Lucent has been designated as lead contractor in charge of designing and manufacturing the system in consortium with IT Marine who will be responsible for marine operations.

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