Facebook Inc. & Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africas largest fibre company, are jointly working on broadening their footprint in Africa by installing 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) of fibre in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The new network is intended to boost internet access for approximately 30 million people in Central Africa and meet the rising demand for regional connectivity.
According to a statement by the two firms, the cable would extend the length of 2Africa, the major sub-sea connection being co-developed by Facebook. Furthermore, the partnership will make Facebook one of the largest investors in fiber networks in Africa.
According to Facebook's Director of Network Investments, Ibrahima Ba, the company understands that installing fibre in this region is challenging. However, it is an important component of expanding internet access to underprivileged areas.
As per the terms of the collaboration, Facebook will be investing in fibre building and support network planning. While Liquid will own and operate the fibre network and will hire 5,000 employees to work on the project. With this project, the firm will offer services to mobile network operators and internet service providers.
Facebook has constantly been trying to boost connectivity in Africa to benefit from the young population and increase accessibility and affordability of smartphones in the region. Following the failure of a satellite to beam signal over the continent in 2016, the social media behemoth switched to a fibre-based methodology.
The new cable will run from central Congo to Rwanda's eastern border, eventually connecting with the 2Africa cable, which is set to be completed in 2024. Once operational, the fiber network will help create a digital corridor starting from the Atlantic Ocean via the Congo Rainforest to East Africa and further to the Indian Ocean.
Notably, companies like MTN Global Connect, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, China Mobile International, STC, and WIOCC are also working on the cable.