In the past, when one built a submarine cable to serve African destinations, the first question others would ask about your project was 'east or west?' It was nearly always one or the other of course, but not this time. Yesterday, a high powered group of global tech and telecom operators announced plans to build 2Africa, which will do both, starting and ending in Europe.
Plans for 2Africa have it spanning 37,000km with up to 16 fiber pairs and a design capacity of up to 180Tbps. One endpoint will be in the UK, from which the cable will head south with a branch to Portugal and then at a half dozen ports along the west coast of Africa until it reaches Cape Town. From there it will go around the Cape of Good Hope and back up the east coast of Africa, with a branch over to Oman before coming back up through the Red Sea, Egypt, and the Mediterranean to Marseille and Barcelona. In all, 21 landings in 16 African nations are planned. Additionally, the terrestrial link across Egypt will be on a completely new path with new landing stations.
The investors include China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, and Alcatel Submarine Networks has been appointed to do the actual building. If all goes well, they hope to have 2Africa in place in 3-4 years, but of course there a lot of moving parts here.
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