France Telecom and the other members of the LION2 consortium have signed an agreement to build a new submarine cable in the Indian Ocean. The agreement comes less than a year after the inauguration of the LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network) submarine cable linking Madagascar to the rest of the world via Reunion Island and Mauritius. With this latest agreement, France Telecom enters the second phase of its Indian Ocean development plan, pursuing its strategy for the regional expansion of broadband internet.
The 3,000km LION2 cable will extend the LION cable to Kenya via the island of Mayotte. The cable will provide Mayotte with access to a broadband internet network benefiting from a transmission capacity and service quality equivalent to those available in Europe. For Kenya, LION2 is an important project that will strengthen its connectivity to international networks and cover its capacity requirements for years to come. The project is being conducted by a consortium of France Telecom and its subsidiaries Mauritius Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Telkom Kenya, along with carrier companies Emtel, Societe Reunionnaise du Radiotelephone and STOI Internet.
The construction of the LION2 cable represents a total investment of around EUR56.5 million, about EUR31.25 million of which will come from France Telecom. Service is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2012.
LION2 relies on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), enabling capacity to be increased without additional submarine work. The maximum potential capacity is 1.28Tbps. Two new landing stations will be built, one in Kaweni for Mayotte and the other at Nyali near Mombasa for Kenya. The second of these is doubled up with existing stations and will be used to redirect traffic if needed.