Facebook-backed 2Africa Set To Be The Longest Subsea Cable Once Completed
A Facebook-backed subsea communications cable is set to become the world’s longest – directly connecting three continents — Africa, Europe, and Asia.
On Tuesday, the major tech firm announced that the 2Africa cable would now extend more than 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles) once it’s completed.
The 8,000-kilometer extension will see 2Africa become the most extended subsea cable system in the world upon completion, Facebook said.
This means it will also beat the current record set by the SEA-ME-WE 3 line that stretches 39,000 km and connects 33 countries across South East Asia, Middle East, and Western Europe.
Facebook has invested in seven subsea internet cables, two of which are already online. The continued investment is part of its efforts to bring more people online.
Currently, Africa is the least connected continent, with only a quarter of its 1.3 billion people connected to the internet. For this reason, the firm announced in 2020 that it was building upon its investments in expanding internet infrastructure in Africa through the 2Africa subsea cable.
The planned extension, dubbed Pearls, will have landing points in Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia, Facebook said.
With the addition of the Pearls extension, the system seeks to provide connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people and 3 billion in total, said Facebook. The company added that these individuals are across 33 countries and represent 36% of the world’s population.
2Africa consortium still comprises China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC.
Its fellow tech giant Google is also heavily invested in subsea cable-building, with five privately-owned cable projects underway. Google finished laying its 3,900-mile-long Grace Hopper cable linking the US with Spain and the UK on September 14.