Liquid partners Facebook on fibre network in the DRC

Liquid partners Facebook on fibre network in the DRC

06 July 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Liquid Technologies (Liquid) and Facebook have partnered to build an extensive long-haul and metro fibre network in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new network is expected to improve internet access for more than 30 million people and help meet the growing demand for regional connectivity across Central Africa.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Facebook will invest in the fibre build and support network planning, while Liquid Technologies will own, build (hiring over 5,000 people from local communities) and operate the fibre network, and provide wholesale services to mobile network operators and internet service providers.

“This is one of the most difficult fibre builds ever undertaken, crossing more than 2,000 kilometres of some of the most challenging terrain in the world” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies.

“Liquid Technologies and Facebook have a common mission to provide affordable infrastructure to bridge connectivity gaps, and we believe our work together will have a tremendous impact on internet accessibility across the region.”

Once live, the network will help create a digital corridor from the Atlantic Ocean through the Congo Rainforest to East Africa and onto the Indian Ocean.

Liquid Technologies has been developing this digital corridor for over two years and now reaches Central DRC. Once completed, the corridor will connect DRC to its neighbouring countries of Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

“This fibre build with Liquid Technologies is one of the most exciting projects we have worked on,” said Ibrahima Ba (pictured), director of network investments for emerging markets at Facebook.

“We know that deploying fibre in this region is not easy, but it is a crucial part of extending broadband access to under-connected areas. We look forward to seeing how our fibre build will help increase the availability and improve the affordability of high-quality internet in DRC.”

Specifically, it will stretch from Central DRC to the Eastern border with Rwanda and extend the reach of 2Africa, the 37,000km subsea cable that will land along both the East and West African coasts, and better connect Africa to the Middle East and Europe.

The cable is being built by a consortium comprised of Facebook, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC.