The 2Africa subsea cable has landed at the Vodacom network facility in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, marking the third landing on the coast of South Africa of the world’s largest submarine cable system. The first submarine cable landing in the Eastern Cape region, for which Vodacom is the designated landing partner, follows the two recent landings in Yzerfontein and Duynefontein, in the Western Cape, by MTN GlobalConnect in December.

Launched in May 2022 by the 2Africa Consortium, which includes eight international partners, the subsea cable project aims to significantly increase the capacity, quality and availability of Internet connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world when it goes live in 2024. The 45 000 km 2Africa, interconnecting Europe eastward through Egypt, the Middle East through Saudi Arabia and Africa, will connect 19 countries in Africa and 33 countries in total.

The system will have four landings in South Africa and two each in Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt, bringing the total landings in Africa to 27, of the 46 landings in total.

The 2Africa East cable system, of which the Gqeberha branch is part, will go live by, and be ready for service by, the fourth quarter of 2023. In the Eastern Cape landing, Vodacom provides the facilities for the cable’s installation at an existing site in the Summerstrand area. It is expected to accelerate connectivity, enable greater Internet capacity and help to develop telecommunications networks across the Eastern Cape and surrounding provinces.

“Through the 2Africa landing at Gqeberha, service providers will be able to obtain capacity on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy Internet ecosystem. Direct international connectivity can then be provided to data centres, and enterprise and wholesale customers,” says Vodacom Group international markets chief officer Diego Gutierrez.

“Once the fibre cable system has been deployed, businesses and consumers will benefit from improved quality, reliability and lower latency for Internet services, including telecommuting, high-definition video streaming and advanced multimedia and mobile video applications.”

The cable system’s landing in the Eastern Cape will also offer the potential for much-needed regional job creation in sectors that rely on direct international connectivity, such as data centres, call centres and software development, further contributing to local and national socioeconomic development.

In addition, he says that the 2Africa project underpins the further growth of fourth-generation, fifth-generation and fixed broadband access by providing improved connectivity to underserved and rural areas; and network resilience from the Eastern Cape to the rest of South Africa.

“Vodacom Group is pleased to be working with our partners in the 2Africa project to bring faster, more reliable Internet to local businesses and consumers while helping to build an inclusive digital society on the continent and around the world,” Gutierrez continues.

“The subsea cable system enables more communities to access transformative online resources, from education and healthcare to jobs and financial services and experience seamless connectivity’s economic and social benefits,” he concludes.