RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is now connected to the world’s longest subsea cable after the 45,000-km fiber-optic 2Africa network landed in Jeddah and Yanbu, paving the way for the Kingdom to become a global digital hub linking three continents.
The underwater cable is scheduled to reach Duba later this year and Alkhobar in 2024.
Set to be completed in 2024, the 2Africa project will connect 33 countries, delivering reliable connectivity and internet services across Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Announced in May 2020, the system, together with its Pearls extension, will deliver connectivity to around 3 billion people when finished, representing 36 percent of the global population.
The 2Africa project is led by a global consortium of telecom operators and technology firms, including stc subsidiary center3, Meta, China Mobile International, MTN Global Connect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and West Indian Ocean Cable Company.
Fahad Alhajeri, CEO of center3, said his firm will “continue to invest in connectivity infrastructure providing world-class connectivity to our customers and contributing towards achieving the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.”
The project is extended into the Arabian Gulf region through “2Africa Pearls” cable extensions that will have landings in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, the UAE, Pakistan, and India, along with the east coast of Saudi Arabia.
Fares Akkad, regional director of Middle East and North Africa at Meta, said: “Our significant investment in 2Africa builds on several others we have made in Saudi Arabia. The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated how millions rely on internet access to do basic day-to-day tasks and connect with loved ones.”
He added: “Investing in subsea cables provides a better experience for people using our products and benefits many other industries, including healthcare, education, and social services.”
The 2Africa subsea cable will boost information interchange and digital business development in many of the nations it connects, fostering existing growth as well as further advances.
Additionally, the underwater cable will promote economic growth in the surrounding area and catalyze change in the telecommunication sector, serving both individuals and businesses.
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