WACS (cable system)
|Construction finished||19 April 2011 (confirmation needed)|
|First traffic||11 May 2012|
|Design capacity||5.12 Tb/s|
|Area served||West African coast|
WACS (West Africa Cable System) is a submarine communications cable linking South Africa with the United Kingdom along the west coast of Africa that was constructed by Alcatel-Lucent. The cable consists of four fibre pairs and is 14,000 km in length, linking from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape of South Africa to London in the United Kingdom. It has 15 terminal stations along the western coast of Africa. The total cost for the cable system is $650 million. WACS was originally known as the Africa West Coast Cable (AWCC) and was planned to branch to South America but this was dropped and the system eventually became the West African Cable System.
Landing points 
The cable has landed in the following countries:
- South Africa, Western Cape, Yzerfontein
- Namibia, Swakopmund
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Republic of Congo
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Cape Verde
- Canary Islands
- United Kingdom, London
The landings in Namibia, the DRC, the Republic of Congo and Togo will provide the first direct connections for these countries to the global submarine cable network. While all earlier submarine cables were terminated at South Africa's international submarine gateways in Melkbosstrand or Mtunzini the WACS cable has been landed at Yzerfontein in order to reduce risk of complete isolation from the rest of the world in the case of damages by earthquakes or a large ship dragging its anchor.
Design capacity 
Instead of powering the undersea repeaters along the cable by a single conductor which would require the voltage to be well over 12,000 to 14,000 V in the order of some 24,000 V DC, the system is supplied by two independent rings from Europe to West Africa and West Africa to South Africa, thus reducing the power requirements to around 12,000 V DC. Branching units are designed to keep the main trunk intact in case of failure. Repairing a branch will not affect the traffic on the main cable. Landing stations support wavelength pass through which means a wavelength coming into a landing station does not just stop there but carries on. This feature allows future upgrade to be carried out without the necessity to have to upgrade each landing point.
One of the four fibre pairs is a direct route from South Africa to Europe, a so-called express lane. The second and third fibre pairs are designed as a semi-express lane, one with two hops, from South Africa to West Africa and West Africa to Europe and the other with three stops. The fourth fibre pair is an omnibus fibre that stops off at all landing ports en route.
Construction and ownership 
The following South African companies were announced as participants in the construction and maintenance of the cable system. MTN Group has invested $90 million in the cable making it the largest investor, and in return will receive 11% of the initial capacity of the cable.
- MTN Group: a South African based regional mobile operator
- Neotel: South Africa's second fixed line operator
- Telkom South Africa: South Africa's incumbent fixed line operator
- Vodacom: a South African based regional mobile operator
- Gateway Communications: a pan-African wholesale connectivity and telecommunications provider
- Broadband Infraco: a South African state-owned telecom infrastructure company
- Togo Telecom
- Telkom (South Africa)
- Telecom Namibia
- Tata Communications/Neotel
- Portugal Telecom/Cabo Verde Telecom
- Office Congolais des Postes et Telecommunications
- MTN Group
- Congo telecom
- Cable & Wireless Worldwide
- Broadband Infraco
- Angola Cables
A supply contract has been signed between the consortium members and Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks.
The cable became operational on 11 May 2012 by the launching of the cable in South Africa
The WEST AFRICAN CABLE SYSTEM(WACS) was first launched in the 11 may 2011 ,increasing South Africa's international bandwidth capacity by 5.12Tbps and providing the country with another submarine cable system on the West Coast of Africa.The 17,200km WACS fibre optic submarine cable system spans the west coast of Africa, starting at Yzerfontein near Cape Town, South Africa and terminating in the United Kingdom.
WACS links 14 countries – South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Portugal, and the UK.
The 4-fibre pair submarine cable system was constructed at an approximate total project cost of US$650 million.
See also 
Individual cable systems off the west coast of Africa include:
Other African submarine communications cables:
Other African terrestrial communications cables:
- van de Groendendaal, Hans (20 April 2011). "WACS to provide increased international connectivity". EE Publishers (Pty) Ltd. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Same Day Analysis: WASACE Plans Submarine Cable Connecting Africa to Europe, Latin America and North America" Global Insight, 28 November 2011
- Ekongo, John (2 February 2011). "Submarine cable a reality". New Era.
- van de Groendendaal, Hans (28 February 2011). "WACS to provide increased international connectivity". EE Publishers (Pty) Ltd. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "African consortium WACS to extend its submarine cable system from Portugal to the UK with Alcatel-Lucent’s 40G ultra-fast optical technology" (Press release). Alcatel-Lucent. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2012.