Slow Internet, expensive data, and the burden of sub-sea Internet cables in Africa

Slow Internet, expensive data, and the burden of sub-sea Internet cables in Africa

We live in an age where the Internet is fast becoming an essential part of human existence. Even the United Nations (UN) agrees that it is more of a right than a luxury. However, in Africa, billions of people are either unreached, have low-quality Internet, or cannot afford it.

This can be linked to several systemic issues across the continent, but several stakeholders can agree that a first step would be to deepen Internet infrastructure. Subsea Internet cables from the likes of Seacom, Glo, MTN, MainOne, and a host of others are the major backbone of such a move.

In May 2020, Facebook announced that it was planning to build a 37,000km subsea Internet cable worth $1 billion. While this seems like good news, there’s just one small thing; from 2000 to date, at least 19 submarine Internet cables have been connected to Africa.

What are subsea Internet cables?

Subsea cables carry telecommunication signals across the continents of the world, connecting countries to international Internet exchanges.

“The subsea cables are like the fibre cables laid on the land except that they have other materials protecting them as they have to stay underwater for life/long time,” Simon* a top telecom executive explains.

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Source: TechPoint

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