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Google set to build new internet cable between Africa and Europe

July 1, 2019 • Mobile and Telecoms, Southern Africa, Top Stories, West Africa

Google set to launch phase 1 of the Equiano Project in 2021.

Google set to launch phase 1 of the Equiano Project in 2021.

Google is planning to build a new undersea cable called “Equiano” that will connect Africa to Europe, more specifically South Africa to Portugal. The Equiano subsea cable will be fully funded by the company.

Google has invested $47 billion in enhancing its infrastructure in the past 3 years. Equiano will be Google’s 14th global subsea cable investment.

“Equiano will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching,” Google announced in a blog post. The subsea cable will reportedly utilize state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology. This technology will transmit information along parallel channels. According to Google’s statement, this latest subsea cable will deliver approximately 2o times more network capacity than the previous cable Google built in South Africa.

In April, Google completed the “Curie” Project, which is the company’s first private intercontinental cable. This cable connects Chile to Los Angeles in the U.S. In 2018, Google announced that the Dunant transatlantic submarine cable project, which will connect the U.S. to France. The cable will be the length of 6,600km and is scheduled to be operational in 2020. Subsea cables reportedly form the backbone of the internet, with 99 per cent of the world’s data traffic transmitted by subsea cables.

Google announced that the contract to build the Equiano cable with Alcatel Submarine Networks was signed in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Equiano subsea cable gets its name from Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, who was enslaved as a boy. The first phase of the Equiano project is expected to be completed in 2021. The second phase of the project will see Google extending the cable to Nigeria. “[We] look forward to working with licensed partners to bring Equiano’s capacity to even more countries across the African continent,” Google said.

Edited by Kojo Essah

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