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Vodafone Group has officially secured the 2Africa subsea cable system, the largest in the world. This will deliver faster and more dependable internet connections to billions of people worldwide, originating from the key cable hub in Bude, Cornwall.

The 2Africa subsea cable system will enhance connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world while meeting the anticipated future demand for mobile and fixed broadband services. The recent landing in Cornwall will enable faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses aiming to deliver digital services to Africa, and vice versa.

Continuous Capacity and Expansion

With a capacity of up to 180 terabits per second (Tbps), 2Africa will be the first subsea cable system to offer continuous capacity around the African continent, connecting 33 countries across three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia). Launched in May 2020, the cable is now set to extend over 45,000 kilometers once completed, making it long enough to circle the Earth.

As the lead partner for the UK landing, Vodafone will handle the physical cable as it comes ashore, ensure its burial on the beach, and install it into a new, purpose-built beach manhole. This is where 2Africa will connect to the terrestrial cable routing back to Vodafone’s existing Cable Landing Station.

Additionally, Vodafone will provide 2Africa with onward connectivity through two diverse terrestrial infrastructure and fiber routes linking to the London area. Vodafone has been the partner for 11 landings of the 2Africa cable so far.

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Global Partners and Influential Names

The 2Africa consortium consists of eight international partners: Bayobab, Center3, China Mobile International, Meta, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone Group, and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks is responsible for manufacturing and installing the 2Africa cable.

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Vodafone currently owns dual-fibre cables with a lifespan of 25 years and has recently begun carrying customer traffic on its portion of the cable. The twin-fibre pairs that Vodafone owns in the cable system have been named after Vodafone Group’s Head of Subsea Partnerships, Rick Perry. This segment of the Vodafone system is called SHARP, which stands for the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry.

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Perry has been involved in the cable project since its inception. Naming the Vodafone cable after him honors his 50 years in international communications. He attended the Cable & Wireless training college in nearby Porthcurno and is now a trustee for the PK Porthcurno Museum of Global Communications, located on the college's site. Perry was awarded an OBE in 1999 and a CBE ten years later for his services to the telecommunications industry.

Recognizing this notable cable system, Perry said, “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa. Having landed in the UK, it’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers.”

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