According to Diario de Tenerife (Official Information of the Cabildo de Tenerife) and Radio Televisión Canaria (rtvc), the Cabildo de Tenerife (the Government of Tenerife, Canary Islands) and Google signed an memorandum on May 23rd to explore the possibility of connecting Google's Equiano subsea cable to the island, to strengthen telecommunications connectivity between the Canary Islands, Europe and Africa. Tenerife intends to join Google's Equiano subsea cable project through Canalink. The document was signed by the president of the Island Corporation, Carlos Alonso; and the head of the development of the Google submarine cable network for Southern Europe and Africa, Chris George.

Google and Cabildo de Tenerife Sign MOU for Equiano Cable Project
Google and the Cabildo de Tenerife Signing MOU for Equiano Cable Project,  Source of picture: Official Information of the Cabildo de Tenerife


Authorized by the European Commission since January 2000, the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC) is a low tax zone created within the framework of the Canary Islands Economic and Tax Regime (REF) for the promotion of the economic and social development of the Islands and to diversify their production structure. Generally, any entity or branch which intends to carry out an industrial, commercial or service activity included in the list of authorized activities is eligible with the special low tax policies on income tax, succession and fit tax, corporate tax.

In the Canary Islands, there is no VAT for business operation, which is ordinarily 21% in Spain and the European Union. There is a specific tax called the Canary Island General Indirect Tax (IGIC). The ordinary IGIC rate is 6.5%. IGIC is similar to VAT, with some significant differences, such as the tax exemption established for telecommunications services as the EU's strategy to reduce the high cost of telecommunications and improve competition in the ICT sector in the ultra-peripheral island areas which include Madeira and the Azores with Portugal, the Canary Islands with the Iberian Peninsula and the ultra-peripheral French territories with France.

With such incentives, various telecommunications infrastructure and business have been established in the Canary Islands, such as the the D-Alix data center and Canalink, aiming to turn Tenerife, and by extension, the Canary Islands, into a global telecommunications node. Canalink is an independent Spanish operator, responsible for the deployment of submarine cables connecting the Canary Islands.

There are multiple international subsea cables landing in the Canary Islands, including ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), South Atlantic-3 (SAT-3) / West Africa Submarine Cable (WASC), MainOne, Atlantis-2 and South Atlantic-2 (SAT-2), and national subsea cable Tenerife - Cádiz connenting the Canary Islands to Rota in Spain with branch to Morocco. The WASACE 1 subsea cable connecting Portagul and Brazil has planned to land in the Canary Islands.

With the collaboration between Google and the Cabildo de Tenerife, Google will be allowed to use Cabildo infrastructures located in Granadilla - such as the D-Alix data center. And Tenerife aims to be more attractive for the development of operations, since by increasing connectivity, the costs for companies there are cheaper, while allowing Tenerife to improve the services whicha have been already offered in Africa. 

Chris George, the head of the development of the Google submarine cable network for Southern Europe and Africa, explained that Tenerife has a strategic position between Europe and Africa and said that the objective of the agreement is to increase data speed, improve connectivity and also help the development of its land network in Africa. In addition, the memorandum contemplates the possibility of having a communications node in the NAP of Tenerife.

CanaLink aims to liberalize the telecommunications market between the Canary Islands and the Spanish Peninsula, opening the foreign market to Canary companies and vice versa; the increase in the quality of telecommunications between the islands and abroad; greater competitiveness of ICT services, the penetration of alternative operators, ending the telecommunications monopoly in the Canary Islands and the decrease in wholesale prices; and expand the presence of the Canary Islands on the map of intercontinental submarine communications.

According to Google, Equiano will connect Portugal and South Africa, running along the West Coast of Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries. The first branch is expected to land in Nigeria

In addition to the Cabildo de Tenerife, St Helena Government (SHG) also announced its intent to connect St Helena to Google's Equiano subsea cable project.