Facebook wants to build underwater cable dubbed ‘Simba’ around Africa
11 April 2019
Facebook Inc. is circling Africa. Literally. The company is in talks to develop an underwater data cable that would encircle the continent, according to people familiar with the plans, an effort aimed at driving down its bandwidth costs and making it easier for the social media giant to sign up more users.
The three-stage project, named Simba after the lead character in “The Lion King,” could link up with beachheads in several countries on the continent’s eastern, western and Mediterranean coasts, though the exact route and number of landings is in flux, the people said.
Facebook spokesman Travis Reed declined to comment on the company’s plans for Africa. “We look all over the world when we consider subsea cable routes,” he said.
Simba isn’t Facebook’s first foray into subsea cables, the high-capacity fiber-optic lines that carry most of the world’s core internet traffic. The company has led projects linking markets in North America, Europe and East Asia, usually sharing the investment burden with traditional telecommunications companies, which lack the cash to lay down the cables on their own.
Negotiations for the Simba project are continuing, the people said, cautioning that talks could still fall apart.