The project is pharaonic: to provide the African continent with a submarine cable that is 37,000 kilometers long. The goal of ” 2Africa ” is to give Africa an internet connection worth the name. To achieve this, eight companies must stay together and harmonize their respective areas of action. The details.
Telecom and internet giants have been contacted at the moment. These are Telecom Egypt, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Facebook, China Mobile International, Alcatel Submarine Networks, MTN GlobalConnect, STC (Saudi telecom companies) and Orange. Together in a consortium of eight companies, they (these giants) all have the heavy responsibility of giving life to the ‘2Africa’ project project. The French Alcatel Submarine Networks (owned by the Finnish group Nokia since 2016, editor’s note), is responsible for the construction of the cable.
Visibility cannot be higher; provide a flow ” greater than the total combined capacity of all submarine cables currently serving Africa ”. In addition to the African continent, the Middle East will be served by ” 2Africa ”.
It (…) will facilitate the distribution of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.
To get an idea of the size of the task, this 37,000 kilometer long cable is already presented as the longest (submarine cable) on the planet, well before its construction. The Party of Western Europe, ” 2Africa ”, will end its long run in the Middle East and pass through 16 countries on the African continent.
To go into the details of this unlikely trip, note that the super cable will cross the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. But that’s not all; it will continue its path towards the African coast of the Indian Ocean and will then win the Cape of the Good Hope, before going up again along the Atlantic to end its crossing in the UK. Basically, ” 2Africa ” will surround Africa.
To achieve this, the consortium must work hard with delivery date 2023-2024. In a press release, the group of eight said that the project, once completed, will provide many regions in Africa with internet connectivity and reliability they so desperately need, the partners said in a press release. It will respond to the ever-increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East and facilitate the deployment of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people. ”
Experts say that ” 2Africa ” will contain SDM1 technology. Created by Alcatel Submarine Networks, it optimizes internet connection speed as much as possible and distributes up to 32 optical fibers, while previously only 16.
Figures that can explain such a project
In addition, the super cable will be equipped with another technology, called “optical switching”, according to the consortium, which is always emphasized in its press release. This technology guarantees optimal bandwidth flexibility.
To ensure the safety of such a cable, its designers plan to bury it deep under the seabed, longer than any other cable installed to date under the seas. It is also a matter of avoiding the zones affected by underwater disturbances with the aim of “offering the highest possible accessibility”.
This gigantic project is partly explained by the growing number of Internet users on the African continent. If we stick to the figures from the report “ Global Digital ” published by We Are Social and Hootsuite, the world has no less than 4.021 billion Internet users for a world population estimated at more than 7.5 billion people.
According to this report, the African continent recorded the highest growth of Internet users in 2017, with 435 million (Internet users) registered by an African population estimated at 1 billion 270 million individuals. The same report reports 20% African growth that year, which corresponds to 73 million new Internet users on the continent.
According to this study, the high proportion of Internet users in Africa is largely due to the popularity of the smartphone, combined with the rapid development of broadband and high-speed networks on the continent. And the numbers speak for themselves: the penetration rate of 82% for 1,040 billion mobile connections in Africa in 2017, an annual growth of 4% for 45 million new smartphone users.
The gold palm was held in 2017 by southern Africa, with 51% of the Internet penetration rate. Next are North Africa (49%), West Africa (39%), East Africa (27%) and finally Central Africa, with only 12%.