Google is building a super-fast subsea cable between Portugal and South Africa

Google will build a private subsea cable that will connect Africa with Europe.

The cable – called Equiano – will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.

The first branch is expected to land in Nigeria, the company said.

“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.

“Google’s private subsea cables all carry the names of historical luminaries, and Equiano is no different.

“Named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, the Equiano cable is state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, with approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region,” Google said.

Google said that the cable 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 greatly simplifies the allocation of cable capacity, giving us the flexibility to add and reallocate it in different locations as needed,” it said.

“And because Equiano is fully funded by Google, we’re able to expedite our construction timeline and optimise the number of negotiating parties.”

A contract to build the cable with Alcatel Submarine Networks was signed in Q4 2018, and the first phase of the project, connecting South Africa with Portugal, is expected to be completed in 2021.

Read: What is fibre micro-trenching?

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Google is building a super-fast subsea cable between Portugal and South Africa