Facebook and Africa’s largest fibre company, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, are extending their reach on the continent by laying 2 000km of fibre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The move will make Facebook one of the biggest investors in fibre 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 statement Monday.
"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," said Ibrahima Ba, Facebook’s director of network investments, emerging markets.
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 fibre strategy following the failed launch of a satellite to beam signal around the continent in 2016.
The new build will stretch from central Congo to the eastern border with Rwanda and eventually connect with the 2Africa cable, which is expected to be completed by 2024. Liquid will own and operate the fibre, and has plans to employ 5 000 people to work on the project, the companies said.
Liquid is a subsidiary of Econet Global, which was founded in 1993 in Zimbabwe by Strive Masiyiwa.
Additional reporting by Fin24.