Google has officially announced its fully funded new private Equiano subsea cable, connecting Portugal, South Africa and other African countries. A contract to build the Equiano cable with Alcatel Submarine Networks was signed in Q4 2018. Certain potential landing party and professionals have released the Equiano cable project earlier. Between 2016 and 2018, Google invested US$47 billion in capex, which includes investment in improving its global infrastructure.
Once complete, Equiano will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South 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.
Named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, the Equiano cable is state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology, with approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.
Equiano cable system will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching. This simplifies the allocation of cable capacity, enabling the flexibility to add and reallocate it in different locations.
The first phase of the Equiano cable project, connecting South Africa with Portugal, is expected to be completed in 2021.