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    TE Collaborates with Global, African Partners to Establish 2Africa Subsea Cable

    Date published: 14 May 2020

    Telecom Egypt (TE), China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Vodafone and West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) announced today that they will partner to build 2Africa subsea cable, for boosting internet services in Africa and the Middle East. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is to establish the cable in a fully funded project that will greatly enhance connectivity across the region.

    The new cable extends 37,000 km across Africa, making one of the worlds largest subsea cable projects, interconnecting Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landing points in 16 African countries. The system is expected to start operating by the end of 2023, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system.

    2Africa will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, supplement the fast-growing capacity demand in the Middle East, and underpin the further growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.

    In countries where the new cable will land, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centers or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis. This will support a healthy internet ecosystem development by facilitating accessibility for businesses and consumers.

    In addition, The cable has been technically designed to improve resilience and maximize performance, including the option of a seamless optical crossing between East Africa and Europe.

    Furthermore, the 2Africa parties and Airtel signed an agreement with TE to provide a completely new crossing, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the first in over a decade. This includes new cable landing stations and the deployment of next-generation fiber optic cables on two new diverse terrestrial routes parallel to the Suez Canal, from Ras Ghareb to Port Said, and a new subsea link that will provide a third path between Ras Ghareb and Suez.

    The new cable is implemented using the SDM1 technology by ASN, allowing the deployment of up to 16 fiber optic pairs, instead of eight pairs supported by current technologies, thus bringing much greater and more cost-effective capacity.

    The cable will incorporate the optical switching technology to enable a flexible management of bandwidth. In addition, the cable burial depth has been increased by 50%, compared to older systems, and the cable routing will avoid locations of known subsea disturbance, all to ensure the highest security levels.

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