Several tech partners have announced a partnership that will see them build a subsea cable aimed at improving internet connectivity in 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
2Africa is a subsea cable project to be built under a partnership between China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (“ASN”) will build the fully funded subsea project that will cover 37,000km. The 2Africa project will connect to Europe via Egypt; the Middle East via Saudi Arabia; with landings in 16 African countries.
Vinod Kumar, the CEO of Vodafone Business said that 2Africa will lay “the groundwork for increased digitalization across the continent,” and “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.”
The project should be ready by 2023/4 and will boost a combined capacity that exceeds all subsea cables currently deployed for Africa. 2Africa’s capacity will be up to 180Tbps, allowing for greater connectivity and support 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband.
The cable will also provide for seamless optical crossing, covering East Africa and Europe. An agreement between Airtel and Telecom Egypt will see a new crossing link between the regions via the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
The 2Africa subsea cable will utilize ASN’s SDM1, a new kind of technology that allows for up to 16 fibre cable pairs, twice the number of pairs in use with older technologies.
The cable will also integrate optical switching for more flexible bandwidth management. The cables will be buried at a depth 50% deeper than normal cables and will be laid in regions with the least disturbance to provide for the most in connectivity.