According to Portuguese national newspaper Expresso, AFR-IX Telecom is investing in a new subsea cable connecting Portugal to Egypt, the Medusa Cable System. The Medusa cable will be 8700 kilometers between Carcavelos in Lisbon and Port Said in Egypt, with a  total capacity of 480 Terabits per second (Tbps).

Medusa cable route
Medusa cable route, Source: AFR-IX


Besides landing in Carcavelos in the outskirts of the Portuguese capital, the Medusa cable will land at Start Campus in Sines, a newly built hyperscale data center.

In mainland Portugal, Carcavelos, Seixal and Sesimbra on the outskirts of Lisbon are three privileged landing points. While Sines offers geographical redundancy, EllaLink landed in Sines in 2021, connecting Sines to Fortaleza, Brazil.

Owned by a British-American investment partnership between Pioneer Point Partners and Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Start Campus is a 495MW and 60 hectares hyperscale data centre project, SINES 4.0, in Sines, Portugal. The Start Campus SINES 4.0 project was approved by Portugal government in August, 2020. The first phase of the project is a EUR 100 million to EUR 110 million proof-of-concept (PoC) building dubbed as the “Nest”. The 15MW PoC facility is expected to be brought online in Q1 2023. The arriving of new subsea cables is driving the build of hyperscale data centers.

On the Egyptian side, the Medusa cable system will land in Port Said. It will land in Barcelona, Torreguadiaro, Zahara and Alicante in Spain; Tétouan and Nador in Morocco; Bizerte in Tunisia; Collo in Algeria; Marseille in France; Mazara del Vallo in Italy; Yeroskipou in Cyprus; and Tympaki in Greece. 

The Medusa cable system will comprises 24 fiber pairs, with a total system capacity of 480 Terabits per second (Tbps) or 20Tbps per fiber pair, using open cable design.

The Medusa cable projected is expected to cost €326 million (US$374 million), financed in part by the European Investment Bank which will contribute €163 million ($186.5 million), according to Norman Albi, CEO of AFR-IX in an interview with Expresso.

“There is a combination of factors that lead us to invest in this cable: in addition to the fact that there are some submarine cables in the Mediterranean that are reaching the end of their life cycle (and that need alternatives), it is known that the telecommunications traffic generated in Africa has grown at an average of 55% per year", explained Norman Albi.

AFR-IX is build the Barcelona Cable Landing Station, an open digital port that will allow unrestricted cable entry, to be open in April 2022. The Medusa cable will land at the Barcelona Cable Landing Station.