Google builds first subsea cable connecting Africa to Australia

US tech giant said the subsea cable will be anchored in Kenya Africa has faced internet outages due to damaged subsea cables

Google builds first subsea cable connecting Africa to Australia

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is building out the first undersea fiber optic cable that will directly connect Africa with Australia, helping to shore up internet access in one of the least-connected parts of the world.

The cable, called Umoja, follows the construction of Google’s Equiano cable that connects Africa with Europe. The new line will start in Kenya and travel over land through Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa before crossing the ocean to Australia, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.

The new infrastructure will improve coverage on the continent, which has suffered this year from damaged cables. There are relatively few subsea connections to Africa and limited terrestrial infrastructure, making it more difficult to reroute traffic.

US President Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto are meeting in Washington this week on a state visit aimed at deepening US ties with Africa. The continent is emerging as a new arena of global competition for influence when it comes to technology and connectivity. Microsoft Corp. also said this week that it plans to build a $1 billion geothermal-powered data center in Kenya, part of a multi-year plan to dramatically increase cloud-computing capacity in East Africa.

“Access to the latest technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to growing economic opportunity,” said Meg Whitman, US ambassador to Kenya, and a former e-Bay Inc. chief executive officer. “This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey.”

Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network, said Google.

Source: Bloomberg