Facebook and Telcos will extend the submarine cable to four countries.
Facebook and a team of African and global telecommunications companies will add four more countries to their largest submarine cable project in the world, expanding the construction project in Africa ahead of schedule, they said in a joint statement Monday.
Internet connectivity will expand to Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, Angola and bring a new landing point to the southeast of Nigeria. This is in addition to the recently announced extension to the Canary Islands, the companies said.
The project consortium, dubbed 2Africa, consists of 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.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to deploy the new “branches”, which will increase the number of landings from 2Africa to 35 in 26 countries, further improving connectivity in and around Africa, they added.
“Most of the subsea route inspection activity is now complete. ASN has started manufacturing the cable and building repeater units at its Calais and Greenwich factories to deploy the first segments in 2022,” the companies said.
The consortium launched the cable, which is expected to go live in late 2023, in May 2020 to connect those countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Submarine cables form the backbone of the Internet and carry 99 percent of the world’s data traffic.
Africa’s large economies have large and rapidly growing Internet user populations, with growth in Internet use driven by rapidly expanding mobile broadband networks and more affordable phones.
However, with a population of just over 1.3 billion, Africa continues to lag behind in Internet connectivity, with mobile Internet users averaging around 26 percent versus a world average of 51 percent.
The companies said that 2Africa will be the world’s largest submarine cable project.