Morocco part of the “Medusa” project and the North-South connection

Morocco will connect to the “Medusa” megaproject in early 2025. This strategic plan supported by the European Union will for the first time connect nine countries of the Mediterranean basin of North Africa and Southern Europe, including Morocco, to support their sustainable and inclusive economic development thanks to the longest system of cables giant Mediterranean submarines. The Medusa project cable will run from Egypt to Spain and Portugal.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has just provided 100 million euros to co-finance the “Medusa” megaproject, in addition to a European Union grant of 40 million euros to guarantee digital connectivity throughout the Mediterranean. “Medusa” consists of the installation of a modern high-capacity optical fiber submarine cable that will connect five countries (Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal) with four countries in the southern neighborhood of the EU (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt) for a total cost of 342 million euros.

This strategic route will improve connectivity between the EU and North African partners. According to a note published by the EIB, the Medusa project will improve the direct ascent and the speed of communication between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean basin, especially in the fields of research and education. The objective of this program is to connect Southern Europe and North Africa, and to improve connectivity between the European Union and the Maghreb countries as well as Egypt in order to support sustainable economic development and inclusive, ” Medusa will contribute to better integration in the region, sustainable development and provide an opportunity for economic growth in the Mediterranean region “.

The line has a total length of about 7,100 kilometers and the diameter of the cable varies from 15 to 40 centimeters. The EIB has previously stated that “ Submarine cable projects typically have minimal residual environmental impacts due to a small footprint and short time for construction activities at each particular point of the cable “. The bank’s decision said that in Morocco, there is no specific legislation on submarine cable systems, but several national laws regulate the planning of infrastructure that affects the country’s coasts.

Also, it is on the basis of these laws that the cable project is submitted to an environmental impact study which must be definitively approved by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and the Environment. The decision stated that ” the project is also not expected to have significant negative social impacts, but rather significant positive social impacts by helping to accelerate the transition to the digital economy in North Africa “.

The region will therefore benefit from modern access networks and socio-economic advantages which will help to strengthen regional integration. According to the EIB, the project will promote innovation and research, as well as support for education and entrepreneurship in the region. In fact, around 500 universities, educational institutions and research centers and around 4.5 million students will benefit from improved connectivity.

For Parada Visual, the project will also provide another route for data flow and make the telecommunications operator an important partner in supporting socio-economic growth in the region. The Spanish company AFR-IX telecom, an infrastructure and telecommunications operator based in Barcelona, ​​a reference in the Mediterranean, is responsible for the construction of Medusa. It will have a station in Torreguadiaro (San Roque) and a station in Zahara de los Atunes to connect Lisbon to the Egyptian city of Port Said. To this end, AFR-IX has signed a contract with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), which owns over 650,000 kilometers of submarine cable systems, to build Medusa’s 8,700 kilometers of optical cables.

The ambitious project will be the longest optical fiber submarine cable in the Mediterranean. It will serve as an infrastructure to reinforce the fiber optic submarine cable network, given the increasing demands for data flows (40% per year), and with submarine cables carrying 98% of Internet traffic. Medusa will meet three urgent connectivity needs: linking Southern Europe and North Africa, strengthening connections between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and connecting large Mediterranean islands such as Sicily and Crete.

The cable leaves from Lisbon and will connect the Egyptian city of Port Said, crossing several Mediterranean countries. It will have 16 landing points in Portugal, Morocco, Spain, France, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and Egypt. It will have three connection points in Spain, the Zahara de los Atunes and Torreguadiaro stations around the Strait of Gibraltar and the future Barcelona Cable Landing Station (Barcelona CLS), currently under construction. The submarine optical fiber infrastructure will come into service in 2024. The first part will connect Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille and will be able to accommodate up to 24 pairs of optical fibres, each with a capacity of 20 Tbit/s.

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