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2Africa to become world's longest subsea cable post Arabian, Asian expansion

2Africa PEARLS map.jpg

The 2Africa consortium confirms the addition of a new segment to its subsea cable system - the 2Africa PEARLS branch - extending to the Arabian Gulf, Pakistan and India.

Comprised of China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, 2Africa consortium says that the extension will bring the total length of the 2Africa cable system to over 45,000km, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed.

The news means that the 2Africa now connects three continents, Africa, Europe and Asia terrestrially through Egypt, creating unique connectivity by adding vital landing locations in Oman (Barka), UAE (Abu Dhabi and Kalba), Qatar (Doha), Bahrain (Manamah), Kuwait (Kuwait), Iraq (Al-Faw), Pakistan (Karachi), India (Mumbai), and a fourth landing in Saudi Arabia (Al Khobar).

The 2Africa PEARLS branch joins recently announced extensions to the Canary Islands, the Seychelles, Comoros Islands, Angola, and south-east Nigeria, announced in August of this year.

In line with the rest of the system landings, capacity will be available at PEARLS landing points via carrier-neutral facilities or open-access cable landing stations on a "fair and equitable basis".

In addition, the expanded system will serve a wider range of communities that need internet connectivity for services from education to healthcare, as well as local businesses, all of which create economic and social benefits from increased communications connectivity.

Announced in May 2020, 2Africa was developed to create seamless international connectivity to approximately 1.2 billion people, with the addition of 2Africa PEARLS, the system will deliver services to a further 1.8 billion people, bringing the total to roughly 3 billion people, representing 36% of the global population.

As previously confirmed, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will build and deploy the new system using technologies such as SDM, enabling the deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs.

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