Led by Facebook, a group of telecom companies are collaborating to build the "most comprehensive" subsea cable to serve the African continent and Middle East region where nearly a billion people are still offline.
The project, called 2Africa will see the companies lay cables that will stretch 37,000km (22,990 miles).
Africa will be connected on the west via the U.K. and Portugal to Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and several more nations working southward to South Africa.
Africa's east coast and the Middle East will be connected via Spain, France, and Italy to Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and many more African and Middle Eastern nations, including the island nation of Madagascar, down to South Africa where the loop will be completed.
Najam Ahmad, Vice President of Network Infrastructure at Facebook, said 2Africa is “a major element of our ongoing investment in Africa to bring more people online to a faster internet. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that increased connectivity has on communities, from education to healthcare.”
The companies, which also include Saudi Arabia-based telecom firm STC, Telecom Egypt, and African telecom firm WIOCC, say service providers in the countries where 2Africa cable lands will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centers or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis.