Vodafone, a member of the 2Africa consortium comprising China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC, announced in a blog post by Nick Gliddon, Director of Vodafone Carrier Services that Vodafone is naming the 2Africa cable the “System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry” (SHARP) to acknowledge the huge role Rick Perry has played in bringing SHARP and many other cable projects to fruition.
Accroding to Vodafone, SHARP is the abbreviation of the “System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry”. SHARP is named to acknowledges the huge role Rick Perry has played in bringing SHARP and many other cable projects to fruition.
Rick is Vodafone’s longest serving employee. Starting his career in 1974, Rick has become incredibly well known and respected in the industry, and has helped to build the digital society that we know today. The first cable project he worked on was UK-France 3 in 1987, and since then he has led many cable projects to link different parts of the world.
Global connectivity is at the heart of how we help society in a digital age, and our global network is one of our core assets. Whilst the technology we are investing in is impressive, it’s skilled and passionate people that drive transformational projects such as SHARP. That’s why Vodafone is celebrating this milestone project by naming it in honour of Vodafone’s longest serving employee, Rick Perry.
SHARP is an engineering feat
SHARP is Vodafone’s investment into one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects, 2Africa, which involves a consortium comprising China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. When it is completed between 2023 and 2024, high-speed fibre optic cables will circle the African continent, providing enough internet capacity for many years of growth.
Subsea cables carry the vast majority of the world’s inter-continental data, powering the internet. In comparison to other methods, subsea cables can carry much more data more quickly, at a much lower cost.
The cable will run along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean and Red Seas, directly connecting 16 countries in Africa with Europe and the Middle East.
Nick Gliddon mentioned in his post, currently, 39% of Africa is connected to the internet, lagging behind the global average of 59%. Growing this figure is important, with the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development in 2019 estimating that a broadband expansion of 10% would yield a 2.5% increase in GDP per capita.
We also need to ensure there is enough internet capacity to not only get people online, but to help build a modern digital society that includes services that require a large amount of data transfer, such as cloud computing or video. This is crucial for people, local businesses and multinational companies looking to operate in Africa.
To help build this digital society Vodafone has continually invested in national fixed and mobile networks in countries where it operates and with Vodacom and Safaricom. SHARP, the new international subsea network of Vodafone, will underpin this work and provide a foundation for future growth. It will power better and wider connectivity across the continent and provide a deeper connection to the rest of the world.