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Google announces Umoja, first ever fiber optic cable connecting Africa to Australia


Google says it plans to build a new fibre optic cable, named Umoja, to connect Africa to Australia.

According to a statement on Thursday, Umoja will be the first ever fibre optic route to directly connect Africa with Australia.

Anchored in Kenya, Google said the Umoja cable route will transverse Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean into Australia.

“Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network,” Google said.

“Umoja, which is the Swahili word for unity, joins Equiano in an initiative called Africa Connect. Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world.

“Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.”

Google expressed gratitude for the collaboration from leaders across Africa and Australia to deliver ‘Africa Connect’ to people, businesses, and governments in Africa and around the world.

Meg Whitman, US ambassador to Kenya, said access to cutting-edge technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to expanding economic opportunity.

“This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey and the benefits of today’s announcement will cascade across the region,” Whitman said.

Also speaking on the feat, William Ruto, president of Kenya, said the new intercontinental fibre optic route will significantly boost global and regional digital infrastructure.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

On her part, Michelle Rowland, Australian minister for communications, said diversifying Australia’s connectivity and supporting digital inclusion across the globe are both critical goals, and Google’s Umoja cable would help to achieve both.

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