August 12, 2022
Facebook, Telecom to extend subsea cable to four countries in world’s biggest project

Facebook and a team of African and global telecommunications companies will add four more countries to their world’s largest subsea cable project, widening the construction project in Africa, they said in a joint statement on Monday.

Internet connectivity will be extended to Seychelles, Comoros Islands, Angola and a new landing point will be brought to South-East Nigeria. This is in addition to a recently announced expansion to the Canary Islands, the companies said.

The consortium of the project, called 2Africa, includes South Africa’s MTN GlobalConnect, Facebook, Mauritius-based infrastructure provider WIOCC, China Mobile International, France’s Orange SA, Saudi Arabia’s STC, Telecom Egypt and Vodafone.

He said Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to deploy the new “branches”, which will increase the number of 2Africa landings in 26 countries to 35, further improving connectivity in and around Africa.

“Most of the subway survey activity is now complete. ASN has begun manufacturing cable and building repeater units at its factories in Calais and Greenwich to deploy the first section in 2022,” the companies said.

The consortium launched the cable, which is expected to go live in May 2020, connecting countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe at the end of 2023.

Subsea cable is the backbone of the Internet, which carries 99 percent of the world’s data traffic.

Africa’s large economies have a large and rapidly growing population of Internet users, with increased Internet use leading to a rapid expansion of mobile broadband networks and more affordable phones.

However, with a population of over 1.3 billion, Africa still lags behind in internet connectivity, with the average mobile internet user being around 26 per cent against the world average of 51 per cent.

The companies said 2Africa would be the largest cable project in the world.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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