Google to Construct First Subsea Fiber-Optic Cable Linking Africa and Australia
May 26, 2024
Enrich Africa
2 minute(s) Read
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Google is set to construct the first subsea fiber-optic cable connecting Africa and Australia. This move comes amid fierce competition among major cloud providers, with Google striving to catch up with AWS and Microsoft Azure.

The announcement follows a series of widespread outages across Africa, caused by faulty undersea cables. Google, which relies on robust connectivity to deliver its services, aims to position itself as a key solution provider.

Named “Umoja,” the new cable will originate in Kenya, traverse through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and conclude its land journey in South Africa, where Google’s first African data centre has been operational in Johannesburg since early this year.

Google confirmed that the terrestrial part of the route is already complete, in collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies. The project is now focused on extending the cable across the Indian Ocean to Perth, Australia, although no completion timeline has been provided.

“Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world,”

stated Brian Quigley, Google Cloud’s VP for global network infrastructure, in a blog post.

“Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.”

Umoja Cable by Google

With hundreds of cables spanning the globe, Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft are increasingly investing in this infrastructure to enhance service quality. More cables and data centres mean improved services, from lower-latency YouTube streams to faster data transfers for cloud enterprises.

READ ALSO - Nigeria to Launch Massive 1.4-Petabyte Data Center

The closest existing subsea cable to Google’s Umoja route is SUB.CO’s Oman Australia Cable (OAC), which opened in 2022, connecting Oman with Perth. Google has also invested in other African-focused cabling projects, including Equiano, which links Portugal with Nigeria and South Africa.

Earlier this year, Google announced plans for one of the first subsea cables connecting South America with Asia-Pacific, running from Chile to Australia via French Polynesia.

While Google hasn’t specified a timeframe for Umoja's completion, a spokesperson told TechCrunch that submarine cable projects typically take about three years from planning to operation. Therefore, the Umoja cable might be expected to be operational by around 2026.

May 26, 2024
Enrich Africa
2 minute(s) Read

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