Facebook is building a colossal undersea web cable that will almost triple Africa’s Internet capacity, the company announced.
The 2Africa cable was built in collaboration with a number of global telecommunications companies – including China Mobile, MTN, Orange and Vodafone – and will run 37,000 kilometers around the continent.
When completed, the submarine cable will be one of the longest of its kind – almost the same length as the world – and will connect 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Since only a quarter of Africans are currently connected to the Internet, the new Untersee weaving cable offers the much needed capacity, redundancy and reliability.
2Africa undersea weaving cable
The 2Africa project is part of Facebook̵
As the first submarine cable network connecting the east and west coasts of Africa, the project was intended to open up a multitude of new connection routes. The company is also building a new intersection between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean – the first of its kind in a decade.
According to Facebook, the use of new and advanced technologies will increase the efficiency of the cable and ensure maximum availability.
“This is the first system of its size to use an innovative aluminum conductor for submarine cable systems,” said the company.
“In addition, by implementing the Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM1) technology, we have doubled the maximum of eight fiber pairs supported by older technologies for a much more resource-saving fiber optic cable. With up to 16 fiber pairs, 2Africa will enable far more capacity. “
The project was also explicitly developed to counter the limitations of submarine cable networks. For example, fiber optic cables, which are often caused by passing ships or harsh deep sea conditions, occur more than 100 times a year and in some cases cause nationwide failures.
To ensure maximum redundancy and availability, the 2Africa cable was designed so that the digging depth can be increased by 50% (now up to 3 meters). It is laid in such a way that the most problematic underwater locations are avoided, which should limit the scope for breaks.
According to Facebook, the project is coming at a convenient time. The ongoing pandemic underlines the crucial importance of the connection to companies and societies.
“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity as billions of people around the world rely on the Internet to work, go to school, and stay connected with those who matter to them.” said Facebook.
“2Africa will not only be an important element for the further development of the connectivity infrastructure on the African continent, but also an important investment that will take place at a crucial time for the economic recovery.”