Cellco Airtel Gabon has announced the commercial launch of a fibre-optic submarine link between the capital city of Libreville and the economic hub of Port-Gentil. The 187km submarine link, which was activated on 16 January, includes an additional 21km of terrestrial fibre. The link will leverage capacity on the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable, which lands in Libreville and Port-Gentil further down the coast. Port-Gentil, the centre of Gabon’s oil and timber industries, is technically an island, with no bridge linking it to the mainland.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in May 2012 the World Bank announced a new USD58 million loan facility for Gabon under the Central African Backbone (CAB) programme, to finance nationwide broadband connections to the ACE cable, via terrestrial fibre links from the country’s Libreville landing station to Port-Gentil, Franceville, Lekoni, Koulamoutou as well as to the Congolese border. The project also forms part of the World Bank’s contribution in Gabon to implementing the third pillar of the 2010-2015 Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) Programme.