Google announces first subsea cable connecting Africa and Australia 


Google pledged to spend $1 billion on Africa over 5 years in 2021 

Google has announced the launch of the first ever submarine cable route between Africa and Australia, named Umoja (the Swahili word for unity). 

The cable will be anchored in Kenya, and pass through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa before crossing the Indian Ocean to reach Australia. Johannesburg, South Africa, is the location of Google’s first African data centre, which has been operational since January. The land-based part of the cable is already completed, with the South Africa to Perth connection still to be deployed. 

“The new intercontinental fiber optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure,” said William Ruto, President of Kenya in a press release. 

“This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by cuts to sub-sea cables. By strengthening our digital backbone, we are not only improving reliability but also paving the way for increased digital inclusion, innovation, and economic opportunities for our people and businesses.” 

In March, four submarine cables situated on the West Coast of Africa – WACS, Sat-3, Ace, and MainOne – were severed near the Ivory Coast, causing major internet issues across the continent. 

“Diversifying Australia’s connectivity and supporting digital inclusion across the globe are both incredibly important objectives, and Google’s Umoja cable will help to do just that,” said Australia’s Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland MP. 

As well as the cable deployment, Google also signed a Statement of Collaboration with Kenya’s Ministry of Information Communications to partner on issues such as cybersecurity, digital upskilling and AI safety. 

Back in 2021, Google pledged to spend $1 billion across Africa in five years in areas such as startup investment and digital transformation. It has so far spent $900 million, and is set to reach its target in 2026. Since the pledge, however, Google claims that its products and services have added more than $30 billion of economic activity across Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Attend our “Supporting Africa’s growing ICT sector through infrastructure development” track at this year’s Submarine Networks EMEA, 29-30 May in London. Get your last-minute tickets now! 

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T-Mobile and Verizon to buy US Cellular, reports say

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