The northern Mozambican port of Nacala has been linked to the world’s largest submarine fibre-optic cable system to improve digital communications, enabling the telecommunications companyVodacom to offer its customers a direct international gateway for faster and more reliable internet services.
According to a press release from 2Africa, the consortium that owns the fibre optic cable, the connection was officially launched in Mozambique on Tuesday along with a data centre opened by project partner, Master Power Technologies.
The 2Africa consortium consists of eight international partners: China Mobile International; Meta; Bayobab (formerly MTN GlobalConnect); Orange; Center3; Telecom Egypt; Vodafone Group (the parent company of Vodacom); and WIOCC.
The cable runs from the United Kingdom, around the African continent, and onwards to the Middle East and India. In Mozambique, Vodacom is responsible for bringing the cable on-land and for providing the infrastructure for installing the cable in data centres in Maputo and Nacala.
According to Vodacom’s Jose Mendes, “the landing of the 2Africa submarine cable reaffirms Vodacom’s commitment to boost digital inclusion in Mozambique and the African continent by increasing access to quality internet services and investing in network infrastructure to support this”.
He added, “This is an ambitious challenge for which we cannot achieve results alone. Collaboration between other industry players and the public sector is key, to enable the connection of more citizens across the continent”.
2Africa stresses that once the fibre optic cable system is deployed, “businesses and consumers will benefit from better quality, reliability, and lower latency for Internet services, including teleworking, high-definition video streaming, as well as advanced multimedia and mobile video applications”.
It adds that the system also creates the potential for job creation in sectors such as data centres, call centres, and software development, noting that “this employment opportunity can help contribute to local and national socio-economic development”.
According to 2Africa, the connection will also support further growth of 4G and 5G mobile phone technology and fixed broadband access which will provide “better connectivity to underserved and rural areas as well as network resilience”.
Since May 2020, the consortium has been laying the 45,000-kilometre-long submarine cable network which has a capacity of 180 Terabits per second. In total, the 2Africa project will connect 19 countries in Africa and 33 in total.
A study by RTI International, an independent non-profit research institute, estimates that within two to three years of commissioning, the cable will stimulate between 26.2 and 36.9 billion US dollars’ worth of economic growth on the African continent, equivalent to 0.42 to 0.58 per cent of Africa’s GDP.