Premier Oscar Mabuyane has announced that the 2Africa undersea cable will be landing in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Eastern Cape, with other landings mapped for the Western Cape and KZN.
Delivering his state of the province address on Tuesday (23 February), Mabuyane said that the cable will have two immediate benefits for the province:
- The creation of a Focal Point for Digital Transformation; and
- The retention of ICT Skills that will have a multiplier effect in the Eastern Cape.
The premier said that a number of other companies have committed to digital growth in the province.
“Through the East London SEZ we are also rolling out an ICT Service s strategy that will see the development of a multi-purpose ICT hub.
“In addition to this, Liquid Telecoms South Africa has committed to establish an ICT academy in Mthatha which will broaden the participation of our people in the broadband connectivity project,” he said.
First announced in May 2020, the 2Africa is being built through a partnership between Facebook, MTN, Orange, Vodafone, China Mobile, and WIOCC.
At 37,000km long, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe, the Middle East, and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.
The 2Africa cable will implement a new technology, SDM from ASN, allowing deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs instead of the eight fibre pairs supported by older technologies.
The system is expected to go live in 2023/24, and with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps it has more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today.
The cable will also incorporate optical switching technology to enable the flexible management of bandwidth.
Cable burial depth has been increased by 50% compared to older systems, too, and cable routing will avoid locations of known subsea disturbance to increase reliability.
2Africa will deliver Internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa to support the growth of 4G, 5G, and fixed-broadband access, said the companies.
In countries where the 2Africa cable will land, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis.
This, 2Africa said, will support healthy Internet ecosystem development by facilitating improved accessibility for businesses and consumers.