Google Unveils Umoja Submarine Cable Connecting Africa and Australia

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Google is constructing a new submarine cable, Umoja, to directly link Africa with Australia. This fibre-optic route, named after the Swahili word for “unity,” will be the first to connect these two continents directly.

Anchored in Kenya, Umoja will traverse Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia. This route has been developed in collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, offering a scalable network through Africa with multiple access points.

Umoja joins existing undersea cables such as Seacom, ACE, SAT-3, 2Africa, Equiano, WACS, SAFE, and EASSy, which connect South Africa to the global network. Google notes that establishing a distinct route is vital for maintaining a resilient network in a region prone to high-impact outages.

This announcement follows recent outages in subsea cables linking Africa, affecting internet connectivity. Meg Whitman, the US ambassador to Kenya, emphasized the importance of reliable digital infrastructure for economic growth, calling the initiative a significant step in Kenya’s digital transformation.

Kenyan President William Ruto praised the project for enhancing digital infrastructure and fostering economic opportunities. Australian Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland also welcomed the investment, highlighting its role in diversifying Australia’s connectivity.

Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Liquid, noted that major African cities like Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and Harare will now become integral parts of a data superhighway, greatly enhancing their connectivity and digital inclusion.

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