DURBAN – Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, globally, Facebook is partnering with a number of internet service providers (ISP) within Africa to provide faster optical fibre internet to countries in Africa. The ISPs that are involved with the project are Vodafone, Vodacom, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC-SA, Telecom Egypt and WIOCC. The aim is to build Africa’s widespread subsea cable.
The project named, 2Africa, is expected to go live in 2023 or early 2024. 2Africa will be connecting 16 countries in Africa with 21 landings and would be including countries in Europe, via Egypt and the Middle East, via Saudi Arabia. The project initially started in November 2018 and in May 2019 the tender process concluded with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) appointed to “build the cable”.
2Africa is expected to be one of the largest subsea cable projects, spanning approximately 37 000 km. Spatial Division Multiplexing will be used for the new subsea cable with up to 16 fibre pairs in the cable. This is approximately three times the total network capacity of the current subsea cables serving Africa, with up to 180Tbps internet speeds on key system parts. The new subsea cable will enhance the access to 4G, 5G, as well as broadband and, is expected to reach more 100 million people.
Najam Ahmad, Vice President of Network Infrastructure at Facebook explained: “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”.
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