Facebook invests in subsea cables as part of its continued efforts to build the infrastructure that carries internet traffic and helps bring more people online to the faster Internet. Along with the regional and global partners, the company has announced the addition of a new leg to its undersea web cable called 2Africa Pearls, which connects three continents – Africa, Europe, and Asia.
This new segment will increase the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000 km (27,961 miles), making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed.
Facebook first announced the project in May 2020, with initial plans to span 37,000 km (22,990 miles) of cables across the ocean floor. The 2Africa subsea cable system is expected to cover the entire coast of Africa, becoming the largest in the world and serving up to 3 billion people. It will provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today, which is currently considered the least connected continent.
The 2Africa is expected to increase the continent’s population with Internet access to 1.2 billion people. With the addition of the Pearls segment, the world’s longest subsea cable system will provide connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people – in total, it will be, in one way or another, used by 3 billion people, or about 36% of the world’s population.
Initially, the plan of the consortium of companies was to make this network focused only on the African continent, but the 2Africa Pearls branch now adds several new landing locations in Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia. In its entirety, 2Africa to the rest of the world, as it will ultimately interconnect 33 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Facebook says the past 18 months have highlighted the importance of connectivity, as billions of people around the world depend on the Internet to work, attend school and stay connected to the people they care about. This is why Facebook continues to invest in undersea cables in Africa and beyond, how communities and businesses thrive when there is a widely accessible Internet.