Vodafone lands 2Africa, world’s largest subsea cable system

Vodafone has connected the UK to 2Africa, the world’s largest fibre-optic cable system, with the promise of faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses that deliver digital services to Africa.

An alliance across eight companies – including Meta, Orange and China Mobile International – the 2Africa system will eventually stretch across 45,000 kilometres, the circumference of the Earth. And with a bandwidth of up to 180 terabits per second, it has capacity to “provide continuous capacity around the African continent”, according to a Vodafone statement.

Rick Perry, Vodafone Group Head of Subsea Partnerships, added that “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa”.

Related: 5G Standalone: The UK gets the real thing at last

The Vodafone-2Africa connection

The final connection took place in Bude, Cornwall

The final connection of 2Africa to the UK happened in Bude, Cornwall. This may look like a tourist town in the summer, but it’s also one of the most important hubs for subsea cables.

As the UK’s lead partner for the landing of the cable, Vodafone is responsible for managing the transfer of the cable, for burying it on the beach and installing it into a purpose-built beach manhole.

It will then connect to terrestrial cable, to the existing Vodafone Cable Landing Station.

In a seemingly weird move, Vodafone has named the dual fibre cables it owns within the 2Africa system after Rick Perry. Its full name: the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry, or SHARP.

This isn’t quite as odd as it seems, however, as Rick has spent 50 years in international communications, attended a training college in the nearby town of Porthcurno and was awarded a CBE for his services to the telecomms industry.

And this landing is the culmination of years of his work, having been involved with the project from its beginning. But we think he needs to work on his speech-giving. “It’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers and that it has landed in the UK,” he said.

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Tim Danton

Tim has worked in IT publishing since the days when all PCs were beige, and is editor-in-chief of the UK's PC Pro magazine. He has been writing about hardware for TechFinitive since 2023.