- Facebook will provide funding and network planning, but Liquid will own, build, and operate the fiber network
Pan-African tech company Liquid Technologies Inc. is teaming up with Facebook to build a long-haul fiber network in the Democratic Republic of Congo and improve internet access for over 30 million people in the region.
Liquid will lay 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) of fiber cable through Central Africa. Facebook will provide funding and network planning, but Liquid will own, build, and operate the fiber network.
In a statement from both companies, Liquid Group CEO Nic Rudnick said that “Liquid Technologies and Facebook have a common mission to provide affordable infrastructure to bridge connectivity gaps, and we believe our work together will have a tremendous impact on internet accessibility across the region.”
According to February data from Surfshark, Africa ranks last in terms of quality and affordability, meaning many people who live in African countries need to work more than the global average just to afford sub-par internet.
The proposed fiber network will stretch from the DRC to the eastern border of Rwanda, connecting to 2Africa, a major undersea cable that was also co-developed with Facebook. This new corridor will connect DRC to neighbouring countries like Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
“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,” says Ibrahim Ba, director of network investments and emerging markets at Facebook. The deal will make Facebook one the largest investors of fiber networks in Central Africa, Bloomberg notes.
In 2018, Liquid also announced plans to connect Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa, and create “the shortest direct fiber route between South Africa and Egypt.”