Facebook has announced a new segment of subsea cable called 2Africa Pearls, which connects three continents — Africa, Europe, and Asia. This extension will bring the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000 kilometers, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed. At first, the 2Africa cable was set to stretch across 37,000km on the ocean floor with the aim to expand internet infrastructure in Africa.
Originally, the company planned to increase connectivity to 1.2 billion people. With the addition segment, the system will now provide connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people, totaling 3 billion people, or about 36 percent of the global population. The new segment adds several new landing locations in Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia.
According to the company, 2Africa will significantly increase connectivity within Africa and better connect Africa to the rest of the world, as it will ultimately interconnect 33 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Currently, the world’s longest undersea cable is SEA-ME-WE3 or South-East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3 that is 39,000 kilometers long and was completed in 2000. It has 39 landing points.
“The past 18 months have highlighted the importance of connectivity as billions of people around the world rely on the internet to work, attend school, and stay connected to people they care about. We continue to invest in subsea cables in Africa and beyond as communities and businesses flourish when there is widely-accessible internet. Facebook is continuing to build innovative solutions such as these critical fiber optic superhighways so that everyone can benefit from the economic, educational, and social advantages of a digitally connected world.” wrote Kevin Salvadori, director, network investments at Facebook in his blog post where he announced the plan.