Google and Facebook are working together to construct an undersea cable around Africa

The quick growth in internet usage despite high value of access and the expected population boom in Africa already the youngest continent by age of its population jointly signify a major opportunity for some of the world’s largest technology firms who’re betting massive on facilitating web infrastructure and, by extension, guaranteeing hundreds of millions of potential clients get online to use their services.

With web penetration charges on the continent estimated at a mean of 24%, it stays the one continent the place over half the whole population is without web entry. But, that stat represents some substantial improvement given internet connections stood at 2.1% in 2005. The truth is, Africa recorded the best growth in internet use globally between 2005 and 2018, resulting in a significant global internet utilization milestone.

Two of the world’s largest tech corporations are setting about ensuring that growth continues.

Facebook is reportedly engaged on plans for “Simba” (named after the Lion King cartoon character), an underwater cable that can circle the continent with landings on a number of coasts. It’s similar to undersea cable initiatives the social media giant has undertaken in Europe and Asia. It’s unclear whether or not Facebook will associate with African telecoms operators, particularly for investment.

Google’s undersea cable plans are much further along. It has confirmed construction plans for a cable connecting Portugal and South Africa with the first section due to be completed by 2021. The brand new cable, named Equiano (after 18th-century Nigerian author and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano), will have 20 times the capability of the most recent projects laid within the area and will first branch out in Nigeria—Africa’s largest internet market. Google will fund the project.