A cable-laying vessel.
Alcatel submarine networks
  • The 2Africa subsea internet cable is to be extended by around 8,000 kilometers, Facebook said on Tuesday.
  • This would make 2Africa the world's longest subsea communications cable, at more than 45,000 kilometres.
  • If completed, it will run from Europe, around Africa, to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A Facebook-backed subsea communications cable is set to become the world's longest with plans for an 8,000-kilometre extension.

Facebook announced on Tuesday that the 2Africa cable would now extend more than 45,000 kilometres when complete.

The current world record holder for longest undersea cable is SEA-ME-WE 3, which stretches 39,000 kilometres and connects 33 countries.

Facebook said that 2Africa would serve an estimated 3 billion people in 33 countries.

Facebook has invested in seven subsea internet cables, two of which are already online. Its fellow tech giant Google is also heavily invested in subsea cable-building, with five privately-owned cable projects underway. Google finished laying its 6,276-kilometer-long Grace Hopper cable linking the US with Spain and the UK on September 14.

When Facebook announced the 2Africa cable in May 2020 it said it would be 37,000 kilometres long. Facebook is part of a consortium of companies that have invested in the project.

A map of the 2Africa cable with its planned extension highlighted.

Under the plans announced by Facebook in May 2020, the 2Africa cable was to circle Africa and connect with Europe. The planned extension, dubbed Pearls, will have landing points in Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia, Facebook said.

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.