Google has formally unveiled its Equiano project, a new undersea cable that will connect Africa with Europe to boost the continent’s connectivity.
The new cable will start in Western Europe and run along the western coast of the continent to connect Portugal with South Africa. Along the way it will branch off to other African nations with Nigeria planned as the first.
Equiano is named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer who was a slave taken to the Caribbean in his youth and became an influential anti-slavery leader in his day. He died in 1797.
“This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it our third private international cable after Dunant and Curie , and our 14th subsea cable investment globally,” said Google in its post. “Google’s private subsea cables all carry the names of historical luminaries, and Equiano is no different.”
Perhaps not in that respect, but it is different in its technology. The Equiano will use a switching system in the fiber optic cables that greatly enhances capacity – by some 20 times more than the most modern existing cable in the region.
“Because Equiano is fully funded by Google, we’re able to expedite our construction timeline and optimize the number of negotiating parties,” the company said. Alcatel Submarine Networks will build the cable, and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2021.
Google says it’s invested US$47 billion in the past three years in global infrastructure, and is looking forward to partnerships that will work to deliver Equiano benefits to even more African nations.