Google, in partnership with the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), has laid a 12,000km subsea cable running from Portugal to the West Coast of Africa.
By 2025, the cable, which is set to arrive in Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, April 29, 2022, will have boosted internet speeds by nearly six times, reduced internet costs by 21%, and created 1.6 million jobs.
The cable, named after Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, will play a key role in satisfying Nigeria’s current and future international connectivity demands, as well as supporting the country’s digital transformation. In the last five years, Nigeria has produced five startup unicorns.
The high-capacity cable, dubbed Equiano, will run through Lomé, Togo; Lagos, Nigeria; Swakopmund, Namibia; Rupert’s Bay, Saint Helena and Melkbosstrand, South Africa.
The investment is among Google’s continued support for digital transformation in Africa. The company has recently invested substantially in the continent through various initiatives aimed at tapping into its immense talents and potential.
Google’s West African Director, Juliet Ehimuan said, “Google is committed to supporting Africa’s digital transformation and we are excited to see the impact of the landing of Equiano in Nigeria,”
The open-access subsea cable is expected to be fully operational in September and will be one of the swiftest internet connections between Africa and Europe.
“We’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to guarantee that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa.”, Added Ehimuan.
Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. Still, the share of people using the internet stood at approximately 35% as of 2020 – double what it was in 2012. Across much of the country, people lack affordable, reliable & quality access, which limits their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital economy.
”With Equiano, we look forward to being an even more integral part of the digital transformation journey in Nigeria.” Juliet added.
Governments and private investors across the continent are constantly improving intent connectivity in order to improve the digital experience and include more people.
Telkom, a Kenyan mobile services company, recently completed the installation of a 15,000km submarine cable that runs from France to Pakistan via the Europe-Asia route, finally landing in Mombasa, Kenya. This is Kenya’s sixth high-speed internet cable, and it is unique in that it connects Asia and Europe at the same time.
While the Nigerian government has also accelerated its digital transformation programmes and initiatives since 2017, which have proven crucial to the success of many industries in the country, particularly within the startup space, studies suggest that faster Internet connections, better user experiences and reduced Internet costs will further accelerate these benefits.