Meta’s 2Africa Cable Resurfaces in Saudi Arabia, Heads For Asia
Meta has partnered with Riyadh-based Center3, an international data center provider, to land 2Africa, a billion-dollar undersea cable project, in Jeddah and Yanbu, two prominent cities in Saudi Arabia.
In November 2022, 2Africa made its first North African touchdown in Ras Ghareeb, a prominent city in Egypt, at Telecom Egypt’s cable landing station (CLS). In April, it arrived on the shores of Port Said, a northeastern city in the country. Before landing twice in Egypt, the project surfaced four times in South Africa.
2Africa is meant to hit four locations in Saudi Arabia. In the coming months, it would arrive in Duba, a small city on the northern Red Sea coast. By 2024, Al Khoba, a city in the country’s eastern province, will be connected.
The cable’s entry into Egypt and [now] Saudi Arabia marks its dive into Middle Eastern waters, as it looks to make good on its goal to connect three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.
“2Africa’s first landing in Saudi Arabia is a major milestone for center3, representing a significant step forward in our objective to make Saudi Arabia the regional hub connecting the three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe,” said Fahad A. Alhajeri, CEO of center3.
He added: “center3 will continue to invest in connectivity infrastructure providing world-class connectivity to our customers and contributing towards achieving the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.”
Fares Akkad, regional director of Middle East and North Africa at Meta, said: “Our significant investment in 2Africa builds on several others we have made in Saudi Arabia. The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated how millions rely on internet access to do basic day-to-day tasks and connect with loved ones.”
In 2020, Meta, in collaboration with Telecom Egypt, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Vodafone, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company, announced that the 2Africa undersea cable would circle the African continent to boost its internet connectivity with other parts of the world.
Stretching for 45,000 km, it would be the largest subsea cable in the world when complete, one that aims to link 33 countries with 46 landings across Africa, Asia, and Europe, which are uncoincidentally the largest continents of the globe. 27 of the 446 total touch points will be in Africa; two each in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, and Somalia.
According to reports, the cable will extend into the Arabian Gulf, making stops at Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and the UAE through “2Africa Pearls” cable extensions. In Europe, the cable has made it to Italy, Spain, and France.
Meanwhile, the undersea cable is yet to earnestly swim into Eastern Africa. Though it has landed in Djibouti, Somalia, and Mozambique, 2Africa’s trunk in the region is set to land in Sudan and Seychelles later in the year.
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