The 2Africa subsea cable project is expected to significantly improve South Africa’s internet connectivity and could potentially lead to significant economic growth, according to David Eurin, CEO of Liquid Dataport.
Liquid Dataport is a wholesale division of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which aims to connect Africa with the rest of the world to boost international commerce and markets. The company has invested in 11 submarine cables, including WACS, SAT-3, Equiano, 2Africa, PEACE, and ACE, to support organizations’ access to international connectivity from and into Africa.
The 2Africa project, which is backed by Meta and built by the 2Africa consortium, includes China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone/Vodacom, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company. It is billed as the world’s longest subsea cable project, with Alcatel Submarine Networks responsible for its manufacture and deployment.
Eurin believes that the 2Africa cable will bring essential internet capacity and reliability across Africa, addressing the rapidly growing demand on the continent and the Middle East. The cable is set to significantly support the expansion of 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of individuals across Africa. The project’s ripple effect is expected to stimulate job creation in numerous sectors in South Africa, including software development, internet connectivity, and data centres.
The 2Africa cable is expected to be live by the end of the year and will help internet service providers and other IT companies to lower the cost of their services by bringing up to a hundred times more capacity than older cables. This is crucial for South Africa to pivot to a digital economy, catching up with other developed economies and developing new services. This will lead to the creation of many value-added jobs in the service sector.
The 2Africa subsea cable project could bring an economic impact of US$26.2 to US$36.9 billion, or 0.42-0.58% of Africa’s GDP, within two to three years of its commissioning, according to a study by RTI International.
The working philosophy of the 2Africa consortium is open access, meaning every 2Africa cable landing station operator will provide wholesale access fairly, reasonably, transparently, and non-discriminatorily. This move is expected to bolster competition among international bandwidth providers, resulting in better, more competitively priced broadband connectivity for consumers.
Liquid Dataport’s fibre network spans over 110,000 km across Africa and carries data across more than 20 countries. 2Africa will pave the way for more South African organizations to access digital services like cloud, cyber security, satellite connectivity, and IoT networks, empowering them to extend their operations beyond the African continent due to the availability of a more reliable and extensive network and lower latency.
Investments in the Equiano cable and significant capacity on the PEACE and 2Africa undersea fibre cables, together with an extensive terrestrial cross-border fibre broadband network, ensure reliability, cost-efficiency and reach to millions of businesses and people across the continent, with unprecedented bandwidth.