Meta’s 2Africa subsea cable was unable to keep its November landing deadline in the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Akwa Ibom.
A press release from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that 2Africa not only did not meet the target, there is no new timeline set yet.
BusinessDay reached out to Meta officials and the Nigerian PR firm, but no response was received as of the time of writing this report.
The landing of the cable in the two cities has been hotly anticipated by officials of the Nigerian government. At the Global Tech Africa conference organised by the Future Map Foundation and sponsored by the US Consulate, in November 2023, Abdullahi Kashifu, Director General of the National Information Technology Development of Nigeria (NITDA), narrated how he met with officials from Meta and they promised that the landing of the cables in the two cities would happen before the end of November.
The DG said the submarine cables landing in Nigeria is part of the government’s efforts to boost digital infrastructure in the country and grow broadband penetration. He however noted that the country needed more funding to ensure the infrastructure reaches the rural communities.
However, in the press release sent by NCC, Aminu Maida, the executive vice chairman of the commission, met with a delegation of Meta, led by Kojo Boakye, the company’s vice press for Africa, the Middle East and Turkey at the NCC headquarters in Abuja.
The EVC said support will be provided to investors, including operators in Nigeria that played by the rules and regulations guiding the sector.
Boakye informed the NCC boss that the purpose of the visit was to congratulate the EVC on his appointment by the President and to inform him of ongoing efforts to land 2Africa Cable in Nigeria.
At 45,000 kilometres long, Boakye said the 2Africa submarine cable will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), Asia (via Saudi Arabia), and Africa. He said the system will go live in 2023, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second (Tbps).
Boakye solicited NCC’s support in sailing through all necessary legal and regulatory hurdles in landing the submarine cable to complement existing backbone infrastructure in Nigeria.
Read also: Meta set to release ChatGPT competitor
He also said Meta, through a consortium, plans to land 2Africa cable simultaneously in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States “in order to ensure those not yet connected are connected while those already connected are given opportunity for enhanced and affordable access.”