Internet under the Sea: Google Connecting Europe and Africa

Internet Cable

Google has become a verb from a proper noun because of its almost omnipresent nature among internet users all across the globe barring a few places. However, the visible internet still just makes up around a mere 4% of it all. The rest is all secure and can’t be accessed freely by every internet user. The internet is more than just Google and the company is trying to increase its reach into places where the internet services are not very advanced.

The continent of Africa has some of the most technologically underdeveloped regions in the world. Since most other developing economies across the globe have witnessed huge developments in terms of internet penetration, Africa presents huge opportunities for internet growth. This potential attracts the global tech giants and Google is probably the largest one of them entering Africa.

Google has invested heavily in the new cable that is being laid along the coast of Western Africa under the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Portugal to South Africa. This will allow for an internet that will be nearly 20 times faster than the previous cable laid to serve the regions. The rapid growth in the use cases of AI, IoT and similar technologies demand huge volumes of high-speed and reliable internet connectivity. Google strived to offer world-class services to the various regions of Western Africa with its new cable, Equiano.

The name Equiano has been named after the famous Nigerian writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano. Nigeria will be a major beneficiary of the internet undersea cable that will also have an extended stop in Lagos, Nigeria. Google has stakes in over 14 internet cables but this is its 3rd private investment. The interest shows the importance of such cables as 99% of the global internet traffic is moved through such undersea cables.

An Engadget report stated that Equiano will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fiber-pair level, which is different from the previous models of wavelength-level switching. This information was taken from a Google blog post. Google also claimed it’ll have around “20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region”, which means the African continent or at least the Western part of the continent could benefit from the high-speed networks. The growth of the region is heavily dependent on the data speeds.

The Equiano cable will be laid by Alcatel Submarine Networks and is supposed to transfer data from Portugal to South Africa and all the countries in between. The reason behind such an initiative is the growth perspective. A relatively less developed African market offers huge avenues for growth and this is the best opportunity for tech giant Google to enter the market and make a good base for the company.

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