Vodafone connects UK to the world’s largest subsea cable system

The latest landing for the 2Africa subsea cable system has taken place in the important UK cable hub of Bude, Cornwall, led by Vodafone UK.

2Africa is the world’s largest subsea cable system and will improve internet connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world. The latest landing in Cornwall will facilitate faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses wanting to deliver digital services to Africa, and vice versa.

As the lead partner for the UK landing, Vodafone was responsible for managing the physical cable coming ashore, burial on the beach and installation into a new, purpose built beach manhole where 2Africa is connected to terrestrial cable routing back to the existing Vodafone Cable Landing Station. Vodafone also provides 2Africa with onward connectivity via two diverse terrestrial infrastructure and fibre routes linking to the London area.

With a capacity of up to 180 terabits (Tbps) per second, 2Africa will be the first system to provide continuous capacity around the African continent and will connect 33 countries on three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia). Launched in May 2020, when it’s completed, it will be over 45,000 kilometres in length – long enough to stretch around the circumference of the earth.

Vodafone owns dual fibre cables that have a lifespan of 25 years. It has recently started carrying customer traffic on part of the cable system. The Vodafone dual fibre cables are named SHARP in honour of the Group’s Head of Subsea Partnerships, Rick Perry, who is marking 50 years in the industry in 2024 (the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry).

Mr Perry said: “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa. It’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers and that it has landed in the UK.”

The 2Africa consortium is made up of eight international partners: Bayobab; Center3; China Mobile International; Meta; Orange; Telecom Egypt; Vodafone Group; and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks is responsible for the manufacture and installation of the 2Africa cable. More information on 2Africa is available at www.2africacable.net.

Vodafone has been the partner for 11 landings of the 2Africa cable to date. Vodafone’s experience in subsea cables can be traced back to the landing of its first telegraph cable in Porthcurno, Cornwall in 1870. The company continues to be one of the largest investors in subsea cable systems – currently with capacity on around 80 systems that reach 100 countries.

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