Google plans to run a fiber optic cable from Kenya to Australia

Google plans to run a fiber optic cable from Kenya to Australia

Google said on Thursday it will build a fiber optic cable to connect Africa and Australia. Named Umoja (a Swahili word meaning “unity”), one end of the cable will start in Kenya and pass through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa (with access points for the countries) before crossing the Indian Ocean to the land down under.

Google says the project is designed to “increase digital connectivity, accelerate economic growth, and deepen resilience across Africa.” In addition to the cable itself, the company says it will work with the Kenyan government to boost cybersecurity, data-driven innovation, digital upskilling and responsibly and safely deploying AI.

Umoja will join Equiano, Google’s private undersea cable running between Portugal and South Africa (with pitstops in other nations).

Google says the new route is critical to strengthen network resilience in the region, which has a history of “high-impact outages.” In other words, more network redundancy makes outages less catastrophic to the area’s broadband infrastructure.

“The new intercontinental fiber optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure,” Kenyan President William Ruto wrote about the initiative in a Google blog post. “This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by cuts to sub-sea cables. By strengthening our digital backbone, we are not only improving reliability but also paving the way for increased digital inclusion, innovation, and economic opportunities for our people and businesses.”

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