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Google Africa Chief says Equiano cable will lift inland Internet access

By David Whitehouse

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Posted on October 20, 2021 11:08

Nitin Gajria
Google Africa managing director Nitin Gajria. Photo supplied.

Google plans to use its Western Africa undersea Equiano cable as a springboard to increase Internet access across the continent, Nitin Gajria, managing director for Africa, tells The Africa Report.

The US tech giant is working with Internet service providers to extend services inland, says Gajria, who is based in Johannesburg. The challenge, he says, is to define “what infrastructure looks like beyond the sub-sea cable.”

Google this month announced it will invest $1b over the next five years to increase African Internet access and support start-ups. The investment will include the landing of the Equiano cable which will enable faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs. The cable will run from Portugal through Nigerian, Namibia, South Africa and St. Helena. Some parts of Equiano will come into service in the second half of 2022, Gajria says.

Some have argued that Africa’s coastal areas already have adequate broadband capacity and that Google’s plans will do little to tackle the dearth of access in inland areas. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licensed

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