Vodafone Group has landed 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable system. From the important UK cable hub of Bude, Cornwall, it will bring faster, more reliable internet connections to billions of people globally.

2Africa will improve connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world while also supporting the expected future demand of other services, such as mobile and fixed broadband. The latest landing in Cornwall will facilitate faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses wanting to deliver digital services to Africa and vice versa.

With a capacity of up to 180 terabits per second (Tbps), 2Africa will be the first system to provide continuous capacity around the African continent. It will connect 33 countries on three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia). Launched in May 2020, it will be more than 45,000 kilometres in length once completed – long enough to stretch around the circumference of the earth.

As the lead partner for the UK landing, Vodafone will be responsible for: managing the physical cable coming ashore; burial on the beach; and installation into a new, purpose-built beach manhole, where 2Africa will connect to terrestrial cable routing back to the existing Vodafone Cable Landing Station. Vodafone will also provide 2Africa with onward connectivity via two diverse terrestrial infrastructure and fibre routes linking to the London area.

The 2Africa consortium is made up of eight international partners: Bayobab; Center3; China Mobile International; Meta; Orange; Telecom Egypt; Vodafone Group; and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks is responsible for the manufacture and installation of the 2Africa cable. More information on is available on the dedicated 2Africa website.

Vodafone owns dual-fibre cables that have a lifespan of 25 years. It has recently started carrying customer traffic on its part of the cable. Vodafone has named the twin-fibre pairs it owns in the cable system after Vodafone Group’s Head of Subsea Partnerships, Rick Perry. The Vodafone system is referred to as SHARP (the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry).

Perry has been involved in the cable project since the beginning. The naming of the Vodafone cable acknowledges his 50 years in international communications.

He attended the Cable & Wireless* training college in nearby Porthcurno and is now a trustee for the PK Porthcurno Museum of Global Communications, which sits on the site of the college. Perry was awarded an OBE in 1999 and then a CBE 10 years later for services to the telecommunications industry.

Perry said: “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa. Having landed in the UK, it’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers.”

Vodafone has been the partner for 11 landings of the 2Africa cable to date, with its experience in subsea cables tracing back to the landing of the first-ever transoceanic cable in Porthcurno, Cornwall, in 1870.

The company continues to be one of the largest investors in subsea cable systems – currently with capacity, on around 80 systems that reach 100 countries.

*Cable & Wireless Worldwide was acquired by Vodafone in 2012.

Source: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/
Image source: Courtesy of Vodafone UK

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