Facebook has announced a new expansion of its 2Africa submarine cable project, which will now facilitate an advanced Internet connection between them three continents – Africa, Europe and Asia.
As you can see in this diagram, the new “Pearls” section of the 2Africa project, first launched in May last year, will connect India, Pakistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia into the project, improving connectivity in multiple regions.
As Facebook explained:
“This extension will increase the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000 kilometers, making it the longest submarine cable system ever applied.”
Facebook initially invested $ 1 billion in the 2Africa project, which, along with regional partners, will see that the Social Network will facilitate advanced Internet access in these regions.
Which, especially in the case of Africa, will play a key role in its global expansion plans.
“Currently, Africa is the least connected continent, with only a quarter of the 1.3 billion people connected to the Internet […] The 2Africa submarine cable system will provide almost three times the total network capacity of all submarine cables that serve Africa today. ”
The project will provide wider opportunities in these markets, while giving Facebook more potential to sign up for the next billion users, and becoming a larger part of the infrastructure in these developing regions.
Which could also be negative. Various concerns have emerged about the division of Facebook, and in the regions where it is available in Africa it has already sparked a debate about its ability to facilitate the spread of misinformation and undermine the democratic process.
Add to that the various concerns highlighted in recent Facebook files published by the Wall Street Journal regarding the wider social impacts of the platform, and there is an argument that Facebook should not be allowed to enter some of these new regions – but for Facebook itself, the project will enable enormous growth potential and capacity to make its platform a key connecting tool in multiple markets.
Which, in essence, will lead to the constant expansion of the social giant. Facebook applications already reach more than 3.5 billion people every month – and if you take into account that there are 7.9 billion people worldwide, and that Facebook is not available in China (1.4 billion people), and some regions, both notes Facebook, they still don’t have an internet connection, it’s pretty safe to assume that, based on current usage rates, many of these newly connected people will actually end up adding a total number of active Facebook users.
It’s amazing to see Facebook continue to add users every quarter, and through projects like this, which focus on global expansion, Facebook has managed to maintain momentum of growth and build a greater presence in emerging markets.
And if Zuck and Co. can establish Facebook as a more central, critical connectivity utility in more of these regions, it will lay the groundwork for the company’s further expansion.
Concerns remain and the debate continues over whether Facebook is a good thing or a bad thing for society. But as they do so, Facebook continues on, taking root in many more regions.
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