Facebook, and a group of telecom companies including China Mobile International, MTN Global Connect, Orange and Vodafone Facebook, and a group of telecom companies including China Mobile International, MTN Global Connect, Orange and Vodafone have begun plans to construct a new subsea cable dubbed ‘2Africa’, the most comprehensive subsea cable to serve the African continent, Europe and the Middle East region. 2Africa is one of the largest subsea cable projects in the world and will interconnect 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
The telecom infrastructure, which is designed to significantly improve connectivity, will connect Europe (eastward, via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia) and Africa through 21 landing points in 16 countries. An optional direct optical interconnection between East Africa and Europe is planned.
The new 37,000 km long subsea project will be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). It is expected to be commissioned in 2023/4, with a nominal capacity of up to 180 Tbit/s. The new infrastructure will meet the demand for ever-increasing capacity and will facilitate the deployment of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access.
According to Najam Ahmad, Vice President of Network Infrastructure at Facebook, 2Africa is being completed as part of the company’s efforts toward an open and inclusive internet ecosystem, which is a vital part of the continent’s digital economic growth. In the countries where the 2Africa cable lands, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centers and open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis.
“The first subsea cable system to seamlessly connect East and West Africa across a single open system, 2Africa will enable new avenues of communication from coast to coast. In addition, we are developing a new crossing that links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, the first in this region in over a decade. This expanded capacity will facilitate a healthy internet ecosystem by enabling greatly improved accessibility for people and businesses alike,” he affirmed.