Google announces Umoja Fiber Optic Cable connecting Africa and Australia

Google has announced plans to build the first subsea fibre optic cable connecting Africa and Australia.

Dubbed Umoja Fiber, the cable will be anchored in Kenya and will pass through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia.

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.

Umoja, which is the Swahili word for unity, joins Equiano in an initiative called Africa Connect.

”Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world. Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.” Brian Quigley, Google Cloud’s VP for global network infrastructure, said in a blog post Thursday.

”We are grateful for the partnership from leaders across Africa and Australia to deliver Africa Connect to people, businesses, and governments in Africa and around the world,” he added.

Google’s Umoja cable [Image Credits: Google]

The announcement follows recent widespread outages across Africa, which have been attributed to undersea fibre cuts. In March this year, for example, a suspected underwater rock slid off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire resulting in several submarine cables being offline. The cables included ACE – Africa Coast to Europe, SAT-3 – Submarine Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable, WACS – West Africa Cable System and MainOne. The outage impacted 13 African countries located on the West African seaboard, causing either degraded services or near-total Internet outages.

A similar incident happened this month causing internet outages across East and South Africa.

“Access to the latest technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to growing economic opportunity. This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey and the benefits of today’s announcement will cascade across the region.” – Meg Whitman, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya said.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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