Facebook is teaming up with telecoms corporations to construct a 37,000km (23,000-mile) undersea cable to provide sooner web to 16 nations in Africa.
Its size – almost equal to the circumference of the Earth – will make it one of many longest, it mentioned.
It is a part of a long-running bid by Facebook to take its social media platform to Africa’s younger inhabitants.
Ready to be used by 2024, it is going to ship 3 times the capability of all present undersea cables serving Africa.
“When completed, this new route will deliver much-needed internet capacity, redundancy, and reliability across Africa, supplement a rapidly increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East, and support further growth of 4G, 5G, and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people,” mentioned Facebook in a weblog.
Africa lags behind the remainder of the world with regards to web entry, with 4 in 10 individuals throughout the continent getting access to the net, in contrast with a world common of six in 10.
But the continent represents enormous alternatives for know-how companies and companies with its inhabitants of 1.three billion.
The value of the twoAfrica challenge – which is able to join Europe and the Middle East to the continent – has not been disclosed however Bloomberg reported it might be near $1bn (£820m).
Sub-sea cables carry the overwhelming majority of the world’s inter-continental information. They can deal with way more information and provide sooner transmission at a decrease value in contrast with different strategies.
The cable – which shall be constructed by Nokia Oyj’s Alcatel Submarine Networks – will run alongside the underside of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
It shall be buried deeper than earlier techniques for better safety in opposition to exterior injury from issues similar to ships’ anchors.
The fibre-optic cables could have double the capability of older ones, making use of Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM1) know-how.
Facebook is teaming up with Johannesburg-based MTN Group, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and Orange SA.
Vodafone mentioned it could pave the way in which for growing digital companies on the continent.
“We need to ensure that there is enough internet capacity to not only get people online, but to help build a modern digital society that includes services that require a large amount of data transfer, such as cloud computing or video,” mentioned Nick Gliddon, director of Vodafone Carrier Services.
As properly as serving to companies, it is going to additionally enhance healthcare and schooling, he added.