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Algeria progresses on new submarine cable connectivity project

Algeria progresses on new submarine cable connectivity project

Phased approach to leveraging Alger-Oran-Valencia (Orval) and Annaba-USA cables.

The government of Algeria has announced plans to connect the North African country to two new submarine fibre optic cables before the end of 2018.

Houda Imane Feraoun, Algeria's Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technologies, made the announcement while addressing Algeria's Council of the Nation, the Upper House of the Algerian Parliament.

The new fibre infrastructure includes the Alger-Oran-Valencia (Orval) and Annaba-USA cables. They are expected to strengthen the capacity of the existing fibre optic network serving Algeria: the Sea-Me-We 4 and MED Cable cables, which connect Annaba to Marseille and Algiers to Marseille respectively.

Orval was first announced in 2016 and was initially expected to be completed in 2017, but has encountered delays.

The project is in two phases with the first linking Oran to Valencia, while the second connects Valencia to Algiers.

The first phase has already been completed while the second phase is ongoing since November 2015 and was initially expected to be completed within 14 months at a cost of US$10 million.

The Annaba-USA cable, priced at US$34 million, was announced in December 2017 to help improve internet speeds in Algeria.

Algeria continues to explore additional connectivity options following the experience the country had when Sea-Me-We 4 cable was damaged on 22 October 2015. This resulted in the disruption of internet access to Algeria Telecom for several days, and a financial loss of 600 million dinars (US$5,220,000).

According to the Minister, connection to the cables will see an increase in the number of locals that have access to good quality broadband internet.

Out of a telecoms subscriber base of over 43 million, less than 3.2 million Algerians have access to fixed broadband internet and many regions are yet to be connected.

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