Bharti Airtel and Meta to extend subsea cable to India

Indian operator Bharti Airtel has announced a collaborative project with Meta to extend the 2Africa Pearls subsea cable, which connects Africa, Europe, and Asia, to India.

2Africa is a subsea cable system, and Airtel and Meta will essentially be hooking up a recent extension of it called 2Africa Pearls to Airtel’s landing station in Mumbai, providing more dedicated capacity to bolster the operator’s submarine network portfolio.

Airtel says the 2Africa cable will significantly boost India’s cable capacity and ‘empower global hyper-scalers and businesses to build new integrated solutions and provide a high-quality seamless experience to customers.’

Facebook/Meta announced it was building out a subsea cable extension called 2Africa Pearls last year, and that it would connect Africa, Europe, and Asia. This new bit of cable brings the total length of the 2Africa system to more than 45,000 kms, which is apparently the longest subsea cable system ever deployed. The goal of the wider project is certainly ambitious – with the addition of Pearls we’re told it will provide connectivity to an additional 1.8 billion people – 3 billion in total.

“We, at Airtel, are delighted to deepen our partnership with Meta to serve India’s digitally connected economy by leveraging the technology and infrastructure strengths of both companies,” said Vani Venkatesh, CEO – Global Business, Bharti Airtel. “With our contributions to the 2Africa cable and Open RAN, we are investing in crucial and progressive connectivity infrastructure which is needed to support the increasing demand for high-speed data in India. We look forward to working closely with Meta to deliver best-in-class digital experiences to our customers in India.”

Francisco Varela, vice president of mobile partnerships for Meta added: “Subsea cables and open, disaggregated networks continue to play a huge role in the foundational infrastructure needed to support network capacity and fuel innovation. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Airtel to further advance the region’s connectivity infrastructure that will enable a better network experience for people and businesses across India.”

It is worth remembering Meta and many of the other internet giants, who are currently being told by many leading European telcos that they should be contributing towards internet infrastructure development, already do – just not in the form of 5G towers.


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