Facebook has launched a new expansion of its 2Africa undersea cable project, which will now allow improved internet connections to be established between three continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia.
As seen in this diagram, the 2Africa project's new "Pearls" section, which was first revealed in May of last year, will connect India, Pakistan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia to the project, enhancing connectivity in more regions.
According to Facebook:
“This extension will bring the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000 kilometers, making it the longest subsea cable system ever deployed.”
Facebook invested $1 billion on the 2Africa project, which will see The Social Network work with regional partners to bring enhanced internet access to these areas.
Which, in the case of Africa, will be crucial to its worldwide expansion goals.
“Currently, Africa is the least connected continent, with only a quarter of its 1.3 billion people connected to the internet […] The 2Africa subsea cable system will provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today.”
The project will open up new prospects in these areas, while also giving Facebook more opportunities to sign up the next billion users and become a greater part of the infrastructure in these emerging countries.
That itself may also be a disadvantage. Various worries have been voiced about Facebook's divisive nature, and it has already caused controversy in Africa's regions where it is accessible about its ability to assist the spread of misinformation and disrupt democratic processes.
There is a case to be made that Facebook should not be permitted into some of these new regions, given the various concerns expressed in The Wall Street Journal's recent Facebook Files exposé about the platform's larger societal impacts – but for Facebook itself, the project will encourage huge potential for growth and the ability to make its platform the vital connective tool in more markets.
This effectively means that the social media juggernaut will continue to grow. Facebook's apps already reach over 3.5 billion people every month – and given that the world's population is 7.9 billion, and that the platform isn't available in China (1.4 billion people), and some places, as Facebook states, still lack internet connectivity, it's reasonable to presume that most of these newly connected people will be using Facebook.
It's incredible to watch Facebook continue to acquire users every quarter, and it's thanks to plans like these, which focuses on worldwide expansion, that Facebook has been able to keep up its momentum and expand its influence in emerging regions.
And if Zuck and his team can develop Facebook as a more prominent, vital connective utility in more of these areas, it will pave the way for the company's continued growth.
Concerns abound, and the discussion over whether Facebook is helpful or bad for society continues. Facebook, on the other hand, continues to grow, establishing roots in a growing number of countries.