2Africa, a submarine cable project funded by Facebook and several telecommunications companies, will become the longest submarine cable system ever implemented to completion. The social network announced that the consortium of companies behind the initiative has decided to add a new segment to the structure called 2Africa Pearls, which will connect Africa, Europe and Asia.
When Facebook first announced the project, it said 2Africa would lay 37,000km (22,990 miles) of cables on the ocean floor. Last month, the company also announced that the consortium is expanding its cable reach to four more branches in the Seychelles, Comoros, Angola and southeastern Nigeria. This new segment would bring its total length to over 45,000 km or 28,000 miles.
As the name suggests, the goal of the 2Africa initiative is to provide an internet connection to people living in Africa, which is currently the least connected continent. This extension adds landing sites in India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Karachi), Oman (Salalah and Barakah), UAE (Kalba and Abu Dhabi), Qatar (Doha), Bahrain (Manamah), Iraq (AlFaw), Kuwait (Kuwait) and in Saudi Arabia (Khobar).
In a Facebook announcement, Kevin Salvadori, vice president of the network infrastructure company, said the full structure would serve more people than the consortium originally intended. While the original 2Africa project was supposed to have the ability to connect for 1.2 billion people, the addition of Pearl would allow the cable to serve a total of 3 billion people. He wrote:
“The past 18 months have highlighted the importance of connecting as billions of people around the world rely on the internet to work, attend school and connect with people they care about. We continue to invest in submarine cables in Africa and beyond, communities and businesses thrive when there is widely available internet. “
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