Connecting billions

2Africa Undersea Cable Makes Third Landing In South Africa’s Eastern Cape

By  |  January 24, 2023

In May 2020, the 2Africa consortium, which comprises China Mobile International, Meta (formerly Facebook), MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC, came into being. 

2Africa is a subsea cable system designed to deliver uninterrupted international internet connectivity to 3 billion people in 3 continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. The project, which boasts over 45,000 kilometers of cabling to become the longest such ever deployed, is chiefly meant to connect Africa to the rest of the world. 

The cable, which before now had made two landings, has touched down the third time. It has been plugged into the network of Vodacom, South Africa’s largest telco, via a facility in Gqebera, a major seaport and the most populous city in the Eastern Cape province of the country.

Previously, under the auspices of MTN GlobalConnect, the submarine cable landed twice in the Western Cape, a province on the nation’s southwestern coast. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is tasked with its building and deployment, all of which are projected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023. Reportedly, the system has a design capacity of 180 TB/s. 

2Africa will connect 33 countries, 19 of which are in Africa. It would make four landings in South Africa, and two each in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, and Somalia; overall, it would make 46 landings across continents, 27 of which would be in Africa. 

Through the delivery of the combined capacity of all Africa-serving subsea cables, 2Africa would provide faster and more reliable internet capacity, supporting the growth of 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of unconnected people, especially in the ruralities. 

“We want more people to have increased connectivity so they can benefit from services that provide better education, healthcare, and business opportunities. Investing in subsea cables that bring more people online to a faster internet is crucial for achieving this goal, particularly as data consumption grows at 20-30 percent, per person, each year,” Meta rendered in a statement

“This latest 2Africa cable landing affirms Vodacom’s commitment to driving digital inclusion in Africa by increasing access to quality internet services and investing in the network infrastructure to support this goal,” said Diego Gutierrez, Vodacom Group Chief Officer, International Markets. “We cannot achieve this alone, and collaboration between other industry stakeholders and the public sector is critical in enabling more citizens across the continent to be connected.”

Meanwhile, Google’s version of a submarine cable system, known as Equiano, completed 4 landings last year, from Togo to Nigeria and from Namibia to South Africa; the project is set to go live this year. This, among other similar projects, looks to finally drop freakishly high internet prices in Africa from 2023 onwards.

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