Facebook Partners With Liquid to Extend Africa Fiber Network

Facebook Inc. and Africa’s largest fiber 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 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 statement Monday.

“We know that deploying fiber 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 fiber 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 fiber, and has plans to employ 5,000 people to work on the project, the companies said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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