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Facebook set to expand undersea cable project in Africa

Facebook set to expand undersea cable project in Africa

The 2Africa undersea cable project is part of Facebook's plans to lead the race in providing faster internet connections to the African continent

Facebook had first announced plans to build an undersea cable back in May 2020 Facebook had first announced plans to build an undersea cable back in May 2020

Social media giant Facebook and global telecom majors China Mobile Ltd. and MTN Group Ltd have decided to expand a giant undersea cable they are building in Africa.

These firms intend to add the Indian Ocean island nations of Seychelles and Comoros along with Angola and a new connection to Nigeria, as per a statement released on Monday. This will be in addition to a recently announced connection to the Canary Islands which are located off the coast of Northwestern Africa. The companies have now expanded the number of connection-landings to 35 which are in 26 countries, according to a Bloomberg report.

"The significant investment by Facebook in 2Africa builds on several other investments we have made in the continent, including infrastructure investments in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo," explained a Facebook spokesperson in an email, according to Bloomberg.

The 2Africa undersea cable project is part of Facebook's plans to lead the race in providing faster internet connections to the African continent. Africa has a population of 1.2 billion where more and more people are starting to use smartphones.

Facebook had first announced plans to build an undersea cable back in May 2020. This was preceded by attempts to launch a satellite in 2016 which would have beamed signals across the world. However, the SpaceX rocket carrying the satellite blew up.

2Africa is expected to be one of the largest undersea cable projects ever and will cost just under $1 billion. Marine surveys for building the undersea cable are likely to be completed by the end of 2021, the companies have stated. The 37,000-kilometre-long sub-sea cable will connect Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

In the US, manufacturing for the first segment of the project's infrastructure has already begun, according to the statement. Nokia Oyj' Alcatel Submarine Networks has been contracted to build the cable.

The undersea cable sector has been witnessing a resurgence of sorts as tech giants Facebook and Google have been behind about 80% of the recent investments in transatlantic links. Facebook and Google are looking to tap into the growing demand for fast-data transfers across the world.

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Published on: Aug 16, 2021, 3:08 PM IST
Posted by: Mohammad Haaris Beg, Aug 16, 2021, 3:02 PM IST