Facebook announced Tuesday that its 2Africa cable will now reach over 45,000 km with nine additional landings collectively called the 2Africa Pearls. The submarine cable will connect Africa, Europe, and Asia directly.
Facebook announced that 2Africa will be the longest subsea cable network in the world after the extension is completed. It will surpass the 39,000km record of the SEA-ME–WE 3 line, which connects 33 countries in South East Asia, Middle East, and Western Europe.
Facebook continues to invest in subsea cable infrastructure as part of its efforts to increase internet access. Initial plans of the internet giant were to provide affordable internet access to Africa's estimated 1.2 billion inhabitants. As the plan evolved, the consortium decided to lay 37,000 km (22.990 miles) of cables linking 23 countries in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Facebook added 26 new branches to this list last month, including Angola, Seychelles and the Comoros Islands. In June, the new branches were added to the extension to Canary Islands (not as a country).
2Africa Pearls branches now connect terrestrially via Egypt, India, Iraq Kuwait, Oman Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Facebook stated that the Pearls extension will allow the system to connect to an additional 1.8 million people, and a total of 3 billion. Facebook stated that the individuals were located in 33 countries and account for 36% of the global population.
2Africa still includes China Mobile International and MTN GlobalConnect, Orange Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, WIOCC, and China Mobile International. They selected Nokias Alcatel Submarine Networks, (ASN), to deploy the nine branches as with the previous extension.
Despite the latest developments, the consortium did not provide any information on when they would complete the construction of the subsea cables. However, based on previous announcements, it is likely that Facebook and the group telcos will keep the original date of late 2023 to very early 2024.