Google has introduced Equiano, a new private subsea cable that will connect Africa with Europe.
Once complete, Equiano will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.
The first branch is expected to land in Nigeria.
This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it its third private international cable after Dunant and Curie, and Google’s 14th subsea cable investment globally.
Named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, the Equiano cable is based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, with approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.
Equiano will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fiber-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.
A contract to build the cable with Alcatel Submarine Networks was signed in Q4 2018, and the first phase of the project, connecting South Africa with Portugal, is expected to be completed in 2021.