2Africa subsea cable system extended to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan

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  • 2 months ago
  • Posted: October 5, 2021 at 8:25 pm

In 2020, May, Facebook partnered with leading African and global telecommunications operators to form the 2Africa consortium with the purpose of building the most comprehensive subsea cable to serve the African continent and Middle East region. This will become the longest subsea cable system ever deployed by the time it’s finished. When Facebook first announced the project, it said 2Africa will lay down 37,000 km (22,990 miles) of cables on the ocean floor, however, in August the 2Africa consortium that includes China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC announced that it would extend to four more branches, Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, Angola and the south-eastern part of Nigeria joining the extension to the Canary Islands. 

The consortium of companies behind the initiative has decided to add a new segment called the 2Africa PEARLS branch which is extending to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan. This extension will bring the total length of the 2Africa cable system to over 45,000 kilometers, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed. Now connecting three continents, Africa, Europe, and Asia terrestrially through Egypt, 2Africa creates unique connectivity by adding vital landing locations in Oman (Barka), UAE (Abu Dhabi and Kalba), Qatar (Doha), Bahrain (Manamah), Kuwait (Kuwait), Iraq (Al-Faw), Pakistan (Karachi), India (Mumbai), and a fourth landing in Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar). 

As with other 2Africa cable landings announced initially, capacity will be available in PEARLS landings at carrier-neutral facilities or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.  

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To further support a burgeoning global digital economy, the expanded system will serve an even wider range of communities that rely on the internet for services from education to healthcare, and businesses, providing economic and social benefits that come from increased connectivity. The project targets to directly bring seamless international connectivity to 1.2 billion people. With 2Africa PEARLS,  the initiative will be providing international connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people–that’s 3 billion people, representing 36% of the global population.

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will deploy the new system utilizing new technologies such as SDM that allow the deployment of up to 16 fiber pairs, double that of older technologies, and bringing greater and more cost-effective capacity.

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