A new subsea cable connection is supposed to provide a better and more stable internet connection in Africa. The "2Africa" project aims to connect 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, an international consortium announced in Johannesburg. The companies involved in the project include Facebook, China Mobile, the African telecommunications provider Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN), Orange from France, the British Vodafone Group and Telecom Egypt. The cable is scheduled to go into operation in late 2023 or early 2024 and will be installed by the French company Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). ASN is also implementing the "Equiano" project, a submarine cable built by Google, which will connect Lisbon and Cape Town from 2021.
A 37,000 km submarine cable is to connect Africa from Egypt to Europe and via Saudi Arabia to the Middle East. The cable is said to connect 16 African countries at 21 points and to deliver more than the total capacity of all previous underwater cables connected to Africa. The new SDM1 technology (up to 180 TBit / sSpatial division multiplexing) by providing 16 instead of eight pairs of fibers, delivering much larger capacity to key parts of the country at lower cost, Orange said.
Triple the capacity of all previous submarine cables
The cable will allow flexible bandwidth management. The depth at which the cable is buried has also increased by 50 percent – up to three meters – and the additional avoidance of locations with known disruptions will ensure maximum availability in the press release continue. In the past, there have always been problems with the submarine cables already installed, most recently two cables in the Atlantic failed in January, connecting numerous countries in Africa with Europe. This affected international calls and mobile roaming, among other things.
2Africa will provide three times the network capacity of all submarine cables that supply Africa today, Facebook said. The completion will provide the much needed capacity in Africa, complement rapidly growing demand in the Middle East and support 4G, 5G and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people. Facebook says it is investing in 2Africa to complete its efforts to create an open internet ecosystem, as it is an integral part of the continent's digital economic growth.
Africa as a new "data market"
The expanded capacity will have a positive impact on education and health care, it said Facebook blog post continue. The Covid19 pandemic emphasized the importance of connectivity, as billions of people around the world rely on the Internet "to work, go to school, and stay connected with those who matter to them."
Media scientist Payal Arora warns against interpreting Facebook's plans as altruistic. Of course, the project is an important initiative for Africa and "these guys" would have the necessary capital, but that was not a benefit, but an investment in their future business model. Unlike in Europe, where the social network has become less popular among younger people, Facebook continues to gain users in Africa. Arora warns in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung once again, the government of Africa should know the value of the data of its population and put the interests of the people first and not those of the companies.
. (tagsToTranslate) 2Africa (t) China Mobile (t) Facebook (t) Google (t) Orange (t) Vodafone