Google’s Equiano cable to land in St Helena

Google’s Equiano cable to land in St Helena

Councillor Lawson Henry - St Helena.png

Google’s newest cable, Equiano, which will connect Africa to Europe, will now connect to the island of St Helena.

Confirmed by Dax Richards, St Helena Government’s (SHG), Financial Secretary via LinkedIn post, the SHG says that it has issued a letter of intent to connect St Helena to the Equiano subsea cable project. Adding that it will be the “first fibre-optic connectivity from St Helena to the outside world through both Europe and South Africa”.

With an RFS date of 2021, the Equiano cable will run along the entire West Coast of Africa, with landing points in Cape Town, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; and Lisbon, Portugal

The branch unit between the main trunk of the Equiano cable and the Island will be approximately 1140km long. The SHG’s aim is to deliver broadband to St Helena by August 2021, so long as the cable laying and associated works to start on time. The marine survey for the Equiano cable route is currently underway, so it is expected that a survey ship should arrive in the vicinity of St Helena sometime August 2019. 

“This is an historic moment - a truly transformational project for St Helena, said Councillor Lawson Henry (pictured), chair of the Economic Development Committee. “When you consider the start of commercial air services just less than two years ago, it is incredible that in 2021 we will look back and think how far St Helena has come in just a handful of years. In a world with international fibre connectivity, imagine streaming videos in our classrooms, telemedicine services in our hospital, and entrepreneurs developing digital businesses from the comfort of their own home. Our next challenge once the cable is landed is to ensure that it is affordable to everyone on St Helena.” 

According to SHG, connecting to Equiano meets SHG’s timing and budgetary requirements for the European Development Fund and supports the Digital ICT Strategy for St Helena. The Executive Council was also weighing up alternative options.

Once completed, the cable will provide the Island with scalable connectivity, ranging from a few hundred Gbps up to multiple Tbps, as demand varies. Therefore delivering the most cost effective growth of bandwidth needs for the Island. 

“We are pleased to work with Equiano on such an important project for St Helena,” added Richards. “The cable has the potential to transform life on our Island and should create new opportunities to stimulate sustainable social and economic development. It is important that everyone is able to benefit from what improved connectivity and accessibility will bring. After all, that is one of the key conditions underlying the EU funding for this project.”

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