Home » Google confident its subsea internet cable will go live this year — Quartz Africa

Google confident its subsea internet cable will go live this year — Quartz Africa

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Silicon Valley’s leading tech companies tend to get the most business attention in the most profitable US and Europe. But they are also increasingly looking to Africa.Amazon is Build a Prime Video Team To develop Nigeria’s original films and series, Microsoft has set up a multi-million dollar office for the African engineering team. Kenya When Nigeria..

But underwater internet Cable project by Meta and Google It may be the peak of the current pack of African-focused investments from Silicon Valley.For Google, the cable from Portugal Landing in Togo And head to Nigeria, then St. Helena, Namibia, South Africa. It will be online by the end of this year.

Juliet Ehimuan, Google’s director of West Africa, is at the forefront of the process of laying the company’s “Equiano” internet cable in Africa and explained to Quartz what the company wants from the project. The interview was edited for length and clarity.

Quartz: What’s the difference between landing Icuano in Nigeria and Togo?

Juliet Ehimuan: Each country requires a landing partner to land the cable. In the case of Togo CSquared Woezon It was our landing partner. In Nigeria WIOCC (West Indian Ocean Cable Company). So this is one difference. Landing partners vary from location to location and have business licenses from their respective countries.

But the overall purpose is the same. Our focus is on driving the growth of the Internet and providing additional capacity to support future demand. We are looking at the demand for consumption of unique services that also ride on this infrastructure. Our study (Pdf) showed that this project could improve internet speed by 6 times and reduce the retail price of consumer internet data by more than 20%. This is important.

Quartz: How do you convince the government that this cable is suitable for the government?

Ehimuan: The purpose is the same, but of course, the order of size is different, based on the size of each country’s population, and therefore the opportunity. It is important to show benefits to the economy as a whole, How it matches their agenda..

In Togo, Minister of Communication and Digital Transformation, Cina Lawson and the President, saw Equiano as an integral part of advancing their mission on digital transformation and growth. In Nigeria, we have supported the partnership with WIOCC from regulatory agencies in the telecommunications industry and related ministries. Nigeria has a digital strategy and the benefits we expect from Icuano are in line with our policy.

Quartz: The Lagos state government, which is still in partnership, is digging ground for fiber optic cables and laying ducts around big cities. Was Google directly involved with them on how Equiano could connect to their fiber projects?

Ehimuan: A few years ago we were part of a broadband committee we created Nigeria Broadband Plan.. There have been many iterations since then, but some of the challenges that impact infrastructure deployment and the last mile have been clearly demonstrated. High cost of way, double taxation from federal and state governments, cable disconnection.

The latter is what Lagos is working on by creating ducts. The cable will be damaged due to road construction, etc., and the fixed cost of the cable will increase. Ducts create a more structured and safe way to lay cables.

Quartz: So what does Google include?

Ehimuan: Our business is online. Our products and services are digital. People need a connection to access them. But our internal philosophy is to focus on the customer, and everything else follows. That is why we invest ahead of financial gain. Participate in building the market, rather than waiting for sometime in the future when the market is fully prepared and vibrant. As the Internet grows, many organizations, including Google, will benefit.

So the strategy for the last decade has been to address various pillars that help accelerate digital adoption. This includes infrastructure projects like Equiano, but also partnering with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and telcos to reduce device and data bundle costs. That’s the only way to secure a vibrant digital community.

Quartz: To be clear, does Google have a financial stake in getting the cable to work in Nigeria?

Ehimuan: I certainly hope so! That means we take this area seriously. It’s an area with talent, potential, and opportunities. And this is where you can do business. It’s not a charity case that makes people feel sorry. As a Nigerian, I like the first story. But we want to do business in a responsible way to make our lives better.

Quartz: That’s right. Google has been in Nigeria for over 10 years. Is Icuano the most important investment here?

Ehimuan: Do you use Google Maps when trying to think about what you need to do to update Google Maps?

Quartz: That’s right because my life is running on Google

Ehimuan: Yes, people use Google Maps for traffic information, and it’s mostly accurate. Now imagine what you need to do to get Lagos-only mapping information online, get real-time traffic information, and get Street View with real photos. It’s a huge investment, but as long as it works, it doesn’t necessarily shout it. There are all sorts of initiatives, including training, startup grants, and non-profit support.

Quartz: Where does the Google Developer Group on the university campus fit into your strategy?

Ehimuan: When thinking about the different parts needed to achieve a fearless digital landscape, you need a developer who can build great apps that solve local problems. Therefore, it is important to invest early in developer training. We are stimulating young people’s appetite for embracing technology and creating opportunities.

Quartz: What will happen to the business relationship between Google, WIOCC and Nigeria’s Internet service providers in Icuano?

Ehimuan: The capacity of this cable is 20 times that of the previous cable, but I would like to thank the previous project as all the investments will help guide us here and where we want to go.So I admit MainOneWACS (West Africa Cable System) and so on. The purpose of Equiano is to partner with an internet service provider to send the added bandwidth and make it available to users.

Quartz: And the ISP will pay for this, right?

Ehimuan: These details are managed by WIOCC.

Quartz: I see. What do you need to do to maximize the value from Equiano?

Ehimuan: It is the same one that generally applies to ease of operation, some of which have already been mentioned: double taxation, right-of-way fees-all factors that facilitate the operation of a business.

Quartz: Is there a universe where Equiano can’t fulfill his promise?

Ehimuan: The investment in the project is committed, so I have a hard time seeing it. The cable is expected to be operational by the end of this year. Much work has been done to ensure that this timeline is met. I’m 100% sure it will be live. It’s part of the equation.

Another part is that end users need to get that capacity in order to experience the benefits. That’s why there is a conversation about partnerships. WIOCC has announced a contract with Phase 3 Telecom (Network transmission company) The day of the announcement of the cable landing in Nigeria.

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