Facebook wants to connect Africa, Middle East through subsea cable

Facebook is making a huge investment in connecting Africa and the Middle East to the internet using a subsea cable.

Facebook is working with a number of telecommunications company lay down these subsea cables. This massive undertaking will connect at least a billion people in Africa and the Middle East to the internet.

Connecting the world

Facebook calls its newest project 2Africa. It involves laying down 37,000km of cables in order to connect Africa and the Middle East to the European network. The project will have 21 landings and will stretch across 16 African countries.

The social networking giant is partnering up with a number of prominent telecom companies. Among those that Facebook will be working with are China Mobile, Vodafone, MTN GlobalConnect, and Orange.

In a statement, the group explains:

“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.”

The project is also planning to create a new crossing that will essentially connect the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. This is the first time these two bodies of water will be connected for more than a decade.

Partnering with other companies

Aside from the principal sponsors of the project, Facebook is also tapping local telecom companies in Africa and the Middle East. In the Middle East, Facebook is planning to work with Telecom Egypt and the Saudi Arabian company STC. In Africa, the tech giant will be working with WIOCC.

This new project is part of Facebook’s commitment to delivering fast and affordable internet to the rest of the world. Many companies are also working on their own subsea cables. However, this is the first time that Facebook is working with other companies to complete its project.

Major tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook now own close to half of all undersea bandwidth. A research firm reports that Google alone uses at least 14 of these subsea cables.

Many tech analysts consider Africa as the next global market for tech. However, much of the continent is still offline. This new project, 2Africa, is just one of the many efforts to connect the continent to the internet.

Facebook did not disclose how much the company is spending on this project. Nevertheless, the company has a massive amount of resources to fund projects such as this.

Image courtesy of Chinnapong/Shutterstock

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