GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK ARE CIRCLING AFRICA MARKET WITH HUGE UNDERSEA CABLES INVESTMENT.
- July 9, 2019
- Posted by: Lead Contributor
- Category: News
Despite the high cost of access to the internet in Africa, the continent is experiencing rapid growth in internet usage coupled with the expected population boom in the youngest continent. It represents a significant opportunity for some of the world’s leading tech firms who are betting big on improving internet infrastructure and, by extension, making sure millions of potential customers get online to use their services.
The internet penetration rates in Africa currently stands at an average of 24%, and it’s the only continent where over half of the entire population is without access to the internet. This represents some significant improvement given internet connections stood at 2.1% in 2005. Africa recorded the highest growth in internet users worldwide between 2005 and 2018, thereby contributing significantly to the global internet usage milestone.
Now, two of the world’s biggest tech companies have set out to make sure that growth continues.
Recently, Facebook said the company is working on plans for “Simba” (named after the Lion King character), an underwater cable that will be whirl around the continent with landings on multiple coasts. A resemblance of the undersea cable projects that were undertaken by the social media giant in Europe and Asia. There is yet to be clarified whether or not Facebook will partner with African telecoms operators, especially in the area of funding.
Google also confirmed construction plans for an underwater cable system that will connect Portugal (Europe)and South Africa (Africa) with the first phase due to be completed by 2021. The cable is named Equiano (after an18th-century Nigerian writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano), will have a bigger capacity than the most recent projects laid in the region and will first branch out in Nigeria—The home to Africa’s largest internet market. Google fully funds the project.
What do these companies stand to gain? The aim of these companies is the deployment of high-capacity fibre-optic cables, which will ultimately improve connectivity and likely make internet costs much cheaper, and thereby allowing more Africans to get and stay connected.
Google and Facebook, will benefit from the tens of millions of people who will come online as a result. It also represents a broader target market for its ever-growing products and advertising services.
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