Subsea cable to boost Africa internet connectivity

2Africa is one of the largest subsea projects in the world, connecting 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Great news for those in the digital creative sectors.

A consortium of partners including China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC announced a fully funded project which will greatly enhance connectivity across Africa and the Middle East.

In terms of it’s likely impact on the continent gaming industry, it could not only escalate mobile phone adoption, but also spur the development of games and similar projects with an online component.

At 37,000km long, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa. The system is expected to go live in 2023/4, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system. 2Africa will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East and underpin the further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with our 2Africa partners on the most comprehensive subsea cable that will serve the continent,” said Najam Ahmad, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at Facebook. “2Africa is a major element of our ongoing investment in Africa to bring more people online to a faster internet.  We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that increased connectivity has on communities, from education to healthcare. We know that economies flourish when there is widely accessible internet for businesses. 2Africa is a key pillar supporting this tremendous internet expansion as part of Africa’s surging digital economy.”

Despite the promise of increased online connectivity will bring to the continent, the involvement of Facebook does bring with it a cloud shrouded in controversy of the privacy kind. While it is too soon to wheel out the pitchforks, it is worth noting the companies past transgressions.

According to Frédéric Schepens, CEO of MTN Group’s wholesale operation, MTN GlobalConnect, “MTN GlobalConnect is delighted to participate in this bold 2Africa subsea cable project. This initiative complements MTN GlobalConnect’s terrestrial fibre strategy to connect African countries to each other and to the rest of the world. We are proud to be playing a key role in providing the benefits of a modern connected life – a core MTN belief.”

“Improving connectivity for Africa is a significant step which lays the groundwork for increased digitalisation across the continent,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business. “2Africa will give local businesses and consumers a better online experience while more connectivity between Africa, Europe and the Middle East will help to build a wider, more inclusive digital society across the globe. We’re delighted to work with our partners in the project to help deliver this.”

Further information can be found on the 2Africa website at www.2AfricaCable.com

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