Google has announced Equiano, a new private subsea cable which will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and Cape Town in South Africa.
The cable will have 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.
The Equiano cable is state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology.
It will offer 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 fibre-pair level, rather than using the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.
This greatly simplifies the allocation of cable capacity, giving Google the flexibility to add and reallocate it in different locations as needed.
Because Equiano is fully funded by Google, the company is able to speed up its construction timeline and optimize the number of negotiating parties.
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.