Google's Undersea Internet Cable to Link Europe and Africa

Google's Undersea Internet Cable to Link Europe and Africa
Great news for Africa, as Google has announced its third private undersea cable that will run between Africa and Europe. One end will end in Portugal, the other in Cape Town with pitstops along the coast of Africa. 
 
How long do we have to wait? The plan is to have the Portugal-South Africa line up and running by 2021! Named after Nigerian writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, the cable will utilise space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, which will offer 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.


The Equiano line differs from ones before it though. According to Google, "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." This allows Google more freedom with the allocation of cable capacity, giving them the flexibility to add and reallocate it in different locations as needed. So Google can add more stops to Africa if needed in the future. As it stands now, 9 branching landings are planned, with the initial branching unit landing on Lagos, Nigeria. 

 

The cable connecting Africa to Europe in the fastest way yet will be fully funded by Google too. Due to this, Google says it is able to expedite the construction timeline and optimise the number of negotiating parties. This is Google's third private undersea cable, with the first connecting LA to Chile, the second plans to link France and the US by the end of the year. 

 
This is obviously amazing news for Africans, who have always experienced the slowest speeds and highest ping when connecting to oversea's servers. For some, it may be the first time they have internet in their households too, with only 22% of households in SA having Internet access.  

It seems Google is seeing the opportunity in the continent and is trying to connect us to the world via the fastest cable yet. It's still unclear how big of an improve the Equiano Cable will have on SA's internet experience, but time will tell! 

For all the technical details, check out Google's Blog post on Equiano. 

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