The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently announced that Meta missed to meet its target of landing the 2Africa subsea cable in Lagos and Akwa Ibom as scheduled, missing the November deadline. In addition to not meeting the target, Meta has not provided a new timeline for the project, as stated in a press release by the NCC. Nigerian government officials have eagerly awaited the arrival of the cable in both cities, driven by their aspirations to enhance network connectivity in the country.
During the Global Tech Africa conference, hosted by the Future Map Foundation and supported by the US Consulate, in November 2023, Abdullahi Kashifu, the Director General of Nigerian National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), shared his encounter with Meta’s officials. According to him, they assured him that the cable touchdown in both cities would be completed before the end of November. The Director General stated that the arrival of the submarine cables in Nigeria was a crucial component of the government’s initiative to enhance digital infrastructure and expand broadband accessibility throughout the nation.
This system is designed with a capacity of about 180 (Tbps).
Regardless, he asserts that it is crucial to secure additional funds in order to guarantee the expansion of infrastructure to remote rural areas. As contained in the press release by NCC, Aminu Maida, the executive vice chairman of the commission, held a meeting with Meta’s delegation, which was headed by Kojo Boakye, the company’s vice press for Africa and the Middle East, at the NCC headquarters in Abuja. Investors and operators in Nigeria who adhered to the sector’s regulations can anticipate receiving beneficial support, as stated by Maida.
Boakye shared details about their ongoing endeavours to bring the 2Africa Cable project to Nigeria. With an impressive length of 45,000 kilometers, this remarkable submarine cable initiative will serve as a significant development in the realm of subsea cables, efficiently connecting Europe (through Egypt) and Asia (via Saudi Arabia) with Africa. The system is expected to go live in 2023 and will exceed the collective capabilities of all present subsea cables currently catering for Africa. It is designed with a capacity of about 180 terabytes per second (Tbps), which will vastly surpass anything seen before.
Aim is to connect those who are currently without access.
He further urged for NCC support in navigating through the various legal and regulatory obstacles involved in bringing the submarine cable to Nigeria, which will complement the existing backbone infrastructure. He expressed Meta’s intention to collaborate with a consortium to simultaneously establish the 2Africa cable in both Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States. The aim is to connect those who are currently without access while also providing improved and cost-effective connectivity options for those already connected. With the introduction of this extensive infrastructure, communities’ reach to online educational tools, healthcare services, financial services, and the boundless benefits of uninterrupted connectivity would be significantly enhanced.
As the government strives to enhance the country’s digital infrastructure and expand broadband accessibility, the integration of the subsea cable scheme emerges as a pivotal measure in this pursuit. The subsea cable can potentially provide Africa with a crucial infusion of internet capacity and reliability, benefiting numerous regions across the continent. Moreover, it will also address the increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East, aiding its rapid expansion. This cable will play a vital role in supporting the growth of 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband access and particularly benefiting the people of Nigeria.
It is set to become the largest cost-effective capacity project.
Led by Meta, China Mobile International, and several telecom companies, the initiative aims to establish the longest subsea cable in the world, primarily catering for Africa’s communication needs. This groundbreaking initiative, facilitated by Alcatel Submarine Networks’ cutting-edge technology, is set to become the largest project in terms of cost-effective capacity. Experts predict that it could have a significant economic influence, potentially generating a substantial amount ranging between $26.2 to $36.9 billion (0.42 – 0.58%) of Africa’s GDP, after a few years of launching.