2Africa Extended to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan: Now the Longest Subsea Cable System in the World
The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, announced today the addition of a new segment – the 2Africa PEARLS branch – extending to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan. This extension will bring the total length of the 2Africa cable system to over 45,000 kilometers, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed.
Now connecting three continents, Africa, Europe and Asia terrestrially through Egypt, 2Africa creates unique connectivity by adding vital landing locations in Oman (Barka), UAE (Abu Dhabi and Kalba), Qatar (Doha), Bahrain (Manama), Kuwait (Kuwait), Iraq (Al-Faw), Pakistan (Karachi), India (Mumbai), and a fourth landing in Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar). The new 2Africa branch joins recently announced extensions to the Canary Islands, the Seychelles, Comoros Islands, Angola, and a new landing to south-east Nigeria.
As with other 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available in PEARLS landings at carrier-neutral facilities or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.
To further support a burgeoning global digital economy, the expanded system will serve an even wider range of communities that rely on the internet for services from education to healthcare, and businesses, providing economic and social benefits that come from increased connectivity. As announced in May 2020, 2Africa was planned to directly bring seamless international connectivity to 1.2 billion people. Today, with 2Africa PEARLS, 2Africa will be providing international connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people–that’s 3 billion people, representing 36% of the global population.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will deploy the new system utilizing new technologies such as SDM that allow the deployment of up to 16 fiber pairs, double that of older technologies and bringing greater and more cost-effective capacity.
New Branches for the 2Africa Subsea Cable System
The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, announced today the addition of four new branches to the 2Africa cable. The branches will extend 2Africa’s connectivity to the Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, and Angola, and bring a new landing to south-east Nigeria. The new branches join the recently announced extension to the Canary Islands.
2Africa, which will be the largest subsea cable project in the world, will deliver faster, more reliable internet service to each country where it lands. Communities that rely on the internet for services from education to healthcare, and business will experience the economic and social benefits that come from this increased connectivity.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to deploy the new branches, which will increase the number of 2Africa landings to 35 in 26 countries, further improving connectivity into and around Africa. As with other 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available to service providers at carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.
Marine surveys completed for most of the cable and Cable manufacturing is underway
Since launching the 2Africa cable in May 2020, the 2Africa consortium has made considerable progress in planning and preparing for the deployment of the cable, which is expected to ‘go live’ late 2023. Most of the subsea route survey activity is now complete. ASN has started manufacturing the cable and building repeater units in its factories in Calais and Greenwich to deploy the first segments in 2022.
Egypt terrestrial crossing already completed
One of 2Africa’s key segments, the Egypt terrestrial crossing that interconnects landing sites on the Red and the Mediterranean Seas via two completely diverse terrestrial routes, has been completed ahead of schedule. A third diverse marine path will complement this segment via the Red Sea.
"For over a decade WIOCC has been the hyperscale capacity provider for Africa, based upon a strategy of ongoing strategic investment in key subsea and terrestrial infrastructure. Participation in 2Africa continues this commitment to providing large capacity users with the resilient network they need to support their customers' ever-growing bandwidth requirements. Our investment both future-proofs our network capabilities and provides additional resilience to maximise uptime for our critical infrastructure."
Chris Wood - Group CEO, WIOCC