Google internet to reduce data prices by 14% in Africa
Google’s subsea cable that promises to provide affordable and fast internet to millions of people across Africa arrived in Togo on Friday.
The Equiano cable, named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, and the first of its kind to reach Africa has wound its way from Portugal and will double internet speed for Togo’s 8 million residents, Google said in a statement.
The new line will also land in Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa, with possible branches offering connections to nearby countries. It is expected to start operating by the end of the year.
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Although Nigeria has a healthy broadband penetration at 45.9%, Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s least-connected region, with around a quarter of the population still lacking mobile broadband coverage compared to 7% globally, according to a 2020 report by GSMA Intelligence.
Most countries in West Africa are at the bottom of a World Bank global ranking on internet penetration.
Togo will be the first to benefit. The Google internet cable is expected to reduce internet prices by 14% by 2025, according to an Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics assessment commissioned by Google.
The search giant said the Google internet cable will indirectly create 37,000 jobs in Togo by 2025 and boost GDP by $193 million.
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“Not only will the cable improve the resilience of the Google network, but other partners will be able to use and benefit from the Equiano cable’s capacity. We are partnering with multiple key telecom players, including Société d’infrastructures numériques (SIN) and CSquared, where Equiano lands to ensure that the cable can reach more businesses and end-users across Togo and the African continent more broadly.
From Curie to Dunant to Firmina, we are proud to name many subsea cable projects after historical luminaries. The Equiano cable is no different, honouring Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist.
“Expected to be ready for service later this year, Equiano will carry approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region. We’ve worked with established local partners and experts to ensure that Equiano will be able to improve reliability in global communications and free flows of data.
“With the arrival of the Equiano cable in Lomé, we look forward to helping contribute to the achievement of Togo’s digital goals and accelerating digital transformation not only in the country but across the continent,” Google explained in a statement shared by Nitin Gajria, Managing Director, Google Africa.