Facebook and several telcos. have joined forces to build an undersea cable to supply internet services to Africa.
The project will be just under $1 billion (Kshs 100 billion) according to Bloomberg and it will be a 37,000km long cable called 2Africa. This will connect Europe to the Middle East and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa, which includes Kenya.
This is a project that is a collaboration between Facebook, China Mobile, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. It will be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks.
The cable is expected to be operational by 2023/4 and will deliver more than the combined capacity of all sub-sea cables service Africa. Its design capacity will be upto 180Tbps.
“2Africa is a major element of our ongoing investment in Africa to bring more people online to faster internet,” Najaam Ahmad, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at Facebook said. “2Africa is a key pillar supporting this tremendous internet expansion as part of Africa’s surging digital economy.”
Currently, more people in Africa are not connected to the Internet than those that are connected to the Internet. Facebook is one of many American companies that see this need to connect this and also bolster the current infrastructure we have currently.
There are a number of undersea submarine cables connecting Africa and especially Kenya. Recently, DARE 1, East Africas largest submarine cable landed in Mombasa and it has a capacity of 36Tbps. We also have SEACOM, LION, EASSy and TEAMS that serve Kenya.
This also follows what Google did last year. The search giant announced Equiano in June 2019 which is their private subsea cable that will connect Portugal to South Africa. This was laid on the Atlantic Ocean only.