Algeria wants to double its international fibre-optic capacity

By Yara Rizk
Posted on Wednesday, 16 March 2022 10:25

Algeria is connected to the international Internet network via four submarine cables and a land link.

The Algerian Telecom Group has initiated several projects in a bid to move towards greater efficiency. These include mutualising and securing infrastructure, densifying the network and improving throughput.

In order to meet the exponential demand from Algerian customers and partners, the Algerian Telecom Group (GTA) – not to be confused with its subsidiary Algeria Telecom – and the ministry of post and telecommunications have drawn up a new roadmap. According to the group’s CEO Khaled Zarat, the objective is not only to secure the national fibre optic network by 2030 but also to densify it and make it more resilient.

200,000km of cable

Within this framework, almost 200,000km of fibre optic cable had been laid by 31 December 2021 for the national transport network. The latter consists of seven regional NG-DWDM (New Generation Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) loops, which are currently capable of transmitting around 3 terabits per second (Tbps).

In order to connect the country’s 58 wilayas to the telephone network and very high-speed internet, Zarat told the Algerian Press Agency (APS) that “these loops are set to evolve towards greater capacities and greater robustness”.

Algeria is connected to the international Internet network via four submarine cables, as well as a land link from Tunisia, which ensures better security and load sharing.

The latest submarine cable links Algiers and Oran to Valencia, Spain. Operational since 31 December 2020, it reinforces the two other links that pass through Annaba (north-east), namely Medex – which has a capacity of up to 2 terabits – and Alpal 2, whose speed does not exceed 85 gigabits. With a capacity of up to 40 terabits – 20 times the country’s current needs – the Alval/Orval cable represents a considerable improvement in this area.

Increased bandwidth

International bandwidth increased from 1.7 to 2.4 terabits per second between January 2020 and January 2021. Determined to continue on this path, GTA and its four subsidiaries (Algérie Télécom Mobile, Algérie Télécom Satellite, Algérie Télécom Europe and finally Algérie Télécom, which pilots two sub-subsidiaries, Saticom and Comintal) will gradually increase the current international bandwidth’s capacity, as they hope to reach a capacity of almost 4 terabytes per second by the end of 2022. This is more than double the capacity of 2020.

“We must have several reliable links in operation at all times in order to secure the international internet flow,” the CEO of the national telecommunications group told APS. “That way, the loss of capacity due to the cessation of service on one cable can be compensated by the excess capacity on the rest of the cables in service.”

Continuous optimisation

In addition to these improvements, a number of other projects are underway. These include optimising the architecture so that catching solutions can be deployed, widespread use of FTTH (Fibre to the Home) and densifying the 4G network before 5G services are launched, as well as reducing latency and rationalising operating costs.

Constructing a data centre that will host the private cloud as well as setting up the national cloud dedicated to administrations, institutions, companies and SMEs are also on the agenda.

All these investments are expected to pay off.

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