Facebook’s 2Africa undersea cable will land at three sites in South Africa and will substantially increase South Africa’s international Internet capacity.
The three sites include Duynefontein in the Western Cape, Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal, and the Coega Special Economic Zone in the Eastern Cape.
Once completed, the 2Africa submarine cable will span a length of 45,000km, almost entirely encircling the continent of Africa. It is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Major investors in the cable system are China Mobile, MTN, Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Orange, Center3 (formerly STC), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company.
The three landing sites for the 2Africa cable in South Africa are summarised below.
MTN Ysterfontein landing and Duynefontein landing station
MTN GlobalConnect officially announced the landing of the 2Africa cable on Tuesday, 13 December 2022.
It made landfall at Yzerfontein and linked to its cable landing station at Duynefontein further inland.
“2Africa is the first cable going around Africa,” MTN GlobalConnect Chief Fiberco Officer Mohammed Aliyu told MyBroadband.
“You’ve got cables on the East and West [coasts], but this is the first time you’ve got a cable that is designed to serve the whole of Africa.”
“This will be able to support Africa and connect it to Asia — India, Pakistan — as well as connect it to Europe and the rest of the world,” he added.
He believes this is the most important aspect of the 2Africa submarine cable.
When asked whether he thinks all the additional capacity is needed, Aliyu said the capacity it will provide is much needed for the continent.
“Data growth in Africa has been exploding, even before the pandemic. That’s why you’re seeing all the hyperscalers coming in,” Aliyu said.
“[Building 2Africa] is not about bringing in excess capacity. It’s much needed. It’s not ‘too much for Africa’ if I can put it that way.”
2Africa will land at Mtunzini in early 2023
Open Access Data Centres (OADC) announced the launch of data centres in December 2022, as well as an expected completion date for the phase 2 expansion of its Durban facility.
The Durban data centre, located in Mtunzini, is strategically important to the landing of the 2Africa cable.
“Phase 2 of OADC Durban will also be operational by mid-December 2022, adding a further 110 racks at this strategically important facility where the international 2Africa submarine cable is scheduled to land in January 2023,” OADC said.
OADC is owned by WIOCC — a carrier with shareholdings in several African undersea cables.
It is also a landing partner for Google’s Equiano cable and Facebook’s 2Africa cable on the continent.
The 2Africa landing site in Mtunzini is highlighted in green on the cable map below.
Coega Special Economic Zone landing
In February 2021, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane announced that the 2Africa cable would land in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Eastern Cape, adding that it will help advance information and communications technology in the province.
He said the cable would have two immediate benefits for the province:
- The creation of a focal point for digital transformation
- The retention of ICT skills, which will have a compounding effect in the province
“Through the East London SEZ, we are also rolling out an ICT Service s strategy that will see the development of a multi-purpose ICT hub,” Mabuyane said.
“In addition to this, Liquid Telecoms South Africa has committed to establish an ICT academy in Mthatha, which will broaden the participation of our people in the broadband connectivity project.”
The 2Africa landing site in the Coega SEZ is highlighted in red on the cable map below.