By Orange

Orange has annoucned that the submarine cable LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network) was officially inaugurated on Friday, Dec. 11, in Reunion. The fiber-optic cable, which connects Madagascar, Reunion, and Mauritius, was lit on the island on Nov. 16, 2009. The project was financed by a consortium made up of Orange Madagascar, Mauritius Telecom, and France Telecom S.A.

LION makes it possible to connect Madagascar to the broadband Internet network and to secure the connection of the group's regional sites in Reunion and Mauritius. These two islands represent the connection points for the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable, which links Europe to Asia via the southern tip of Africa.

The LION cable was laid by the “Chamarel,” one of the France Telecom Group's cable ships. In Madagascar, the island's first submarine cable station was opened at Toamasina, the main port on the east coast. Connection to the LION cable enables significantly improved internet connectivity, a decisive factor for the country's social and economic development, says Orange. For Reunion, the creation of a second station in Ste. Marie, which is located to the east of the St. Paul station, further strengthens the reliability of the island's international broadband connectivity. In Mauritius, the new Terre Rouge station will make it possible to reroute traffic if necessary, providing backup for the Jacotet Bay station.

LION is based on WDM technology, which allows capacity to be increased in line with requirements without any further undersea work. The potential speed of 1.28 Tbytes per second means that LION is the region's most powerful cable. Facilitating the use of broadband services, it will make it possible to step up exchanges between the three islands.

The development of regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean could be further strengthened by a project to extend the LION cable to Mombasa (Kenya), where there are several possibilities for interconnecting with other submarine cables. The group is also involved in the construction of submarine cables off Africa's Atlantic coast. In 2011, the ACE cable (Africa Coast to Europe) will link South Africa to France, connecting all the countries along Africa's west coast and providing them with access to the global network.