Google’s Project Link now renamed CSquared which was launched in 2011 by a team of Googlers has raised $100m from Google, Convergence Partners, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. to roll-out and operate affordable, high-speed, and reliable infrastructure to further expand internet access in Africa.
According to Marian Croak, Vice-President at Google, “We believe that together under CSquared, we can get more done to roll-out and operate affordable, high-speed, and reliable infrastructure to expand internet access in Africa. Project Link has demonstrated the impact of shared wholesale infrastructure, and we’re excited to see CSquared bring more infrastructure to more service providers and their customers.”
Google, Convergence Partners, IFC, and Mitsui believe in shared infrastructure and a shared vision to expand CSquared to meet the continent’s high demand for quality networks and internet access. This new funding aims to help CSquared bring other companies into the market, expand access and lower costs. CSquared will operate as an independent company headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with cumulative capital commitments of up to $100 million. CSquared has operational networks in Uganda and Ghana and plans to deploy networks in more countries. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
This partnership will combine Google’s technical knowledge and expertise in deploying and operating wholesale metro infrastructure in Uganda and Ghana through Project Link with the additional capital, skills, and reach from all four investors. Convergence Partners’ deep experience of active, value adding investing in the ICT sector in sub-Saharan Africa, IFC’s experience spanning over 40 years supporting the development of the telecommunications sector in Africa, as well as Mitsui’s cross-industry capabilities, vast investment portfolio and global business presence, and its experience as a strategic investor in the ICT sector, will significantly bolster the scale and resources of CSquared in its continued quest to grow access to the Internet across the entire sub-Saharan region.
Since 2011, CSquared has built more than 800 km of fiber in the cities of Kampala and Entebbe; and 840 km of fiber in the Ghanaian cities of Accra, Tema, and Kumasi. In both Ghana and Uganda, more than 25 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) now use these metro fiber networks to offer broadband services and 4G data to end users, with more than 1,200 tower and commercial building sites.