Alcatel-Lucent will link the West Africa Cable System (WACS) to the UK with an extension based on Generalised MPLS (GMPLS) technology to meet broadband transmission services demand, the French-US firm announced in a press release. The development follows Alca-Lu’s recent successful field trial of a 40Gbps solution to boost connectivity along the Africa-Europe route – set for launch next year – with the combined result of raising the submarine cable’s overall design capacity from 3.8Tbps to 5.12Tbps. The new 40G-based link will span 2,000km between the UK and Portugal, joining an undersea system connecting South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. The WACS consortium is composed of twelve parties: Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable & Wireless, Congo Telecom, MTN, Office Congolais des Postes et Telecommunications, Portugal Telecom / Cabo Verde Telecom, Tata Communications / Neotel, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA, Togo Telecom and Vodacom. Alca-Lu signed a USD600 million contract to build the subsea network in April 2009.