Product of the month: Fibre bandwidth explosion in South Africa | Infrastructure news

Equiano (backed by Google) landed at Melkbosstrand in August while a second cable – 2Africa (backed by Facebook) is scheduled to go live in the fourth quarter of 2023.

These cables will help improve internet capacity in the country while Google and Facebook can facilitate the connectivity of more consumers onto their app or ecosystem to increase profit per subscriber.

“The connectivity that will be unlocked through Equiano will have an immense impact on the information and communications technology sector and the domestic economy overall. The capacity that Equiano offers will make connectivity more accessible and affordable, helping to bridge the digital divide in South Africa. Making connectivity more attainable will also allow small businesses to embrace digital innovation and fully step into the digital economy,” says Serame Taukobong, CEO.


The Equiano submarine cable system’s scheduled launch date is in the fourth quarter of 2022, and Google is the sole owner of the system. Its supplier is Alcatel Submarine Networks.

Equiano’s landing point in South Africa is Melkbosstrand, near Cape Town, operated by Telkom’s wholesale and networks division Openserve. Openserve’s cable station facility serves as the South African landing station and will offer terrestrial services, connecting the cable landing to South African carrier-neutral data centres.

This followed the first landing of the cable in St Helena one year ago, before branching out to landings in Togo, Nigeria and Namibia in 2022. Equiano runs from Portugal along the west coast of Africa to South Africa.

The undersea cable, which has a capacity of 144 Tb/s, which is 20 times the capacity of the last cable built to serve the region is the first to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level as opposed to the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.

The Equiano cable was named after Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano.

Google Cloud

With the improved internet speeds, Google is launching a cloud service specifically for the African continent and the infrastructure will be hosted in South Africa. Takealot’s e-commerce platform has already been built on Google Cloud.

Along with the cloud region, Google is expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and building dedicated cloud sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi. In doing so, they are building full-scale cloud capability for Africa.

Google Cloud will help users, developers, businesses and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online. The users will be given the option to store their data in the country of their choice. This will allow companies to comply with local laws prohibiting the storage of data outside of the country.


The 2Africa submarine cable will span a length of 45 000 km, almost encircling the continent of Africa entirely. It is the longest subsea cable in the world and is scheduled to launch in South Africa in 2023.

Major investors in the cable system are China Mobile, MTN, Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Orange, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company.

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