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2Africa sea cable adds India, Pakistan and Arabian Gulf

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Now runs 45, 000 kilometres under the sea - connects three continents

The 2Africa project to connect Europe and Asia to Africa with a cable has added a new segment that now brings online India, Pakistan and the Arabian Gulf, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed. 

A consortium comprising China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, 2Africa announced the new 2Africa Pearls branch to what has become a 45,000 kilometre sub-sea system.

The three continents, Africa, Europe and Asia connect terrestrially through Egypt, but 2Africa adds vital landing locations in Oman (Barka), UAE (Abu Dhabi and Kalba), Qatar (Doha), Bahrain (Manama), Kuwait (Kuwait), Iraq (Al-Faw), Pakistan (Karachi), India (Mumbai) and a fourth landing in Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar). 

The new 2Africa branch joins recently announced extensions to the Canary Islands, the Seychelles, Comoros Islands, Angola and a new landing to south-east Nigeria.

Connects one third of the world's people 

As with other 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available in Pearls landings at carrier-neutral facilities or open-access cable landing stations on a ‘fair and equitable basis’, says the consortium in a release.

In May 2020 2Africa said it planned to bring direct international connectivity to 1.2 billion people. The addition of 2Africa Pearls adds 1.8 billion people – creating a new total of 3 billion citizens of earth, roughly a third (36 per cent) of the planet’s population. 

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will build the new system using spatial division multiplexing (SDM) that accommodates 16 fibre pairs, double that of previous technologies, packing more data down the lines. A division of Nokia has an installed base of 650,000 km of optical submarine systems worldwide, enough to circumnavigate the globe 15 times.

WIOCC is building Africa's first hyper-scale network infrastructure. It deliver 100 Gbps capacity and has funding to develop more pan-African options content providers, telecom operators and ISPs looking to address domestic African markets. It runs 55,000km of terrestrial fibre and 75,000km of submarine cable to 551 locations across 30 African countries.