Facebook and Liquid Intelligent Technologies to build huge fiber network in Africa

Facebook Inc. and Africa’s largest fiber optics company, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, are extending their reach on the continent by laying 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) of fiber in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The two companies intend to build an extensive long haul and metro fiber network.  Apparently, this is part of Facebook’s effort to “connect the unconnected,” especially in 3rd world countries.

The move will make Facebook one of the biggest investors in fiber networks in the region. The cable will eventually extend the reach of 2Africa, a major sub-sea line that’s also been co-developed by Facebook, the two companies said in a July 5th statement.

Facebook will invest in the fiber build and support network planning. Liquid Technologies will own, build and operate the fiber network, and provide wholesale services to mobile network operators and internet service providers. The network will help create a digital corridor from the Atlantic Ocean through the Congo Rainforest, the second largest rainforest after the Amazon, to East Africa, and onto the Indian Ocean. Liquid Technologies has been working on the digital corridor for more than two years, which now reaches Central DRC. This corridor will connect DRC to its neighboring countries including Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The new build will stretch from Central DRC to the Eastern border with Rwanda and extend the reach of 2Africa, a major undersea cable that will land along both the East and West African coasts, and better connect Africa to the Middle East and Europe. Additionally, Liquid will employ more than 5,000 people from local communities to build the fiber network.

“This is one of the most difficult fiber builds ever undertaken, crossing more than 2,000 kilometers of some of the most challenging terrain in the world” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies. “Liquid Technologies and Facebook have a common mission to provide affordable infrastructure to bridge connectivity gaps, and we believe our work together will have a tremendous impact on internet accessibility across the region.”

Liquid Intelligent Technologies is present in more than 20 countries in Africa, with a vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind.

“This fiber build with Liquid Technologies is one of the most exciting projects we have worked on,” said Ibrahima Ba, Director of Network Investments, Emerging Markets at Facebook. “We know that deploying fibre in this region is not easy, but it is a crucial part of extending broadband access to under-connected areas. We look forward to seeing how our fibre build will help increase the availability and improve the affordability of high-quality internet in DRC.”

Facebook has been striving to improve connectivity in Africa to take advantage of a young population and the increasing availability and affordability of smartphones. The social-media giant switched to a predominantly fiber strategy following the failed launch of a satellite to beam signal around the continent in 2016.

About Liquid Intelligent Technologies:
Liquid Intelligent Technologies is a pan-African technology group present in more than 20 countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Liquid has firmly established itself as the leading provider of pan-African digital infrastructure with an extensive network covering over 100,000 km. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is redefining network, cloud, and cybersecurity offerings through strategic partnerships with leading global players, innovative business applications, smart cloud services and world-class security on the African continent. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is now a comprehensive, one-stop technology group that provides customized digital solutions to public and private sector companies across the continent under several business units including Liquid Networks, Liquid Cloud and CyberSecurity and Africa Data Centers. For more information contact: Angela Chandy  [email protected]






2 thoughts on “Facebook and Liquid Intelligent Technologies to build huge fiber network in Africa

  1. That is a fascinating fiber optic network node map circulating the African continent. There are a large number of countries that don’t have fiber landings on the 2Africa network. The build through the Congo Rain forest sounds incredibly challenging.

    It will be interesting to see if some of the LEO satellite Internet players end up as backhaul providers in the areas where there is no fiber backhaul.

  2. Gary Bolton, the president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association, said that there’s public and private sector investment in broadband on the horizon. In an interview with Light Reading, he noted there’s no need to wait on the infrastructure bill to start fiber expansion. “If you look at right now, what’s already been appropriated – $9.2 billion for RDOF – so that’s going to start coming out. That’s going to be fueling us right now,” Bolton said. “Plus there are other programs. As a matter of fact, you know, California had a $7 billion state surplus that they just unanimously approved for broadband. And that’s just one state.”

    C-Spire CEO Hu Meena said that government funding for broadband infrastructure should be fiber-focused, not carved up between satellite, fixed wireless, cable broadband and telecom DSL. “For too long, policymakers have focused on making broadband funds technology-neutral; our country can no longer take that stance if we want to be competitive,” he said.

    “Americans are no longer satisfied with copper technologies, that should have gone the way of the typewriter and the fax machine. Today, policymakers, debating over [broadband] speeds is a disservice to our country and is simply a result of incumbents trying to maintain the status quo, and being paid extra to do.”

    Windstream’s CEO Tony Thomas pointed out that there are, by his estimates, 42 million homes that “are not connected to adequate broadband in the US. That is the challenge in front of us,” he said. “The other challenge is a third of the folks who do have broadband in the country have adjusted gross income of less than $30,000 and struggling to pay their bills. We have to conquer both of these elements to truly conquer the digital divide.”


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