Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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    Vodafone connects UK to 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable system

    2Africa is the world’s largest fibre-optic cable system ever, connecting three continents and delivering more internet capacity to Africa than all the other subsea cables reaching that continent today

    Vodafone Group has landed 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable system, which will bring faster, more reliable internet connections to billions of people globally, in the important UK cable hub of Bude, Cornwall.

    2Africa will improve connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world whilst also supporting the expected future demand of other services such as mobile and fixed broadband.  The latest landing in Cornwall will facilitate faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses wanting to deliver digital services to Africa, and vice versa.

    With a capacity of up to 180 terabits (Tbps) per second, 2Africa will be the first system to provide continuous capacity around the African continent and will connect 33 countries on three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia).   Launched in May 2020, when it’s completed, it will be over 45,000 kilometres in length – long enough to stretch around the circumference of the earth.

    As the lead partner for the UK landing, Vodafone will be responsible for managing the physical cable coming ashore, burial on the beach and installation into a new, purpose built beach manhole where 2Africa will connect to terrestrial cable routing back to the existing Vodafone Cable Landing Station.  Vodafone will also provide 2Africa with onward connectivity via two diverse terrestrial infrastructure and fibre routes linking to the London area.

    The 2Africa consortium is made up of eight international partners: Bayobab; Center3; China Mobile International; Meta; Orange; Telecom Egypt; Vodafone Group; and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks is responsible for the manufacture and installation of the 2Africa cable.

    Vodafone owns dual fibre cables that have a lifespan of 25 years. It has recently started carrying customer traffic on its part of the cable. Vodafone has named the twin fibre pairs it owns in the cable system after Vodafone Group Head of Subsea Partnerships, Rick Perry.

    The Vodafone system is referred to as SHARP (the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry). He has been involved in the cable project since the beginning and the naming of the Vodafone cable also acknowledges his 50 years in international communications.  He attended the Cable & Wireless – which was acquired by Vodafone in 2012 – training college in nearby Porthcurno and is now a trustee for the PK Porthcurno Museum of Global Communications, which sits on the site of the college.  He was awarded an OBE in 1999 and then a CBE 10 years later, for Services to the Telecommunications Industry.

    Perry says: “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa. It’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers and that it has landed in the UK.”

    Vodafone has been the partner for 11 landings of the 2Africa cable to date. Vodafone’s experience in subsea cables can be traced back to the landing of its first telegraph cable in Porthcurno, Cornwall in 1870. The company continues to be one of the largest investors in subsea cable systems – currently with capacity on around 80 systems that reach 100 countries. More information on Vodafone global infrastructure activity is available here.

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