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Press Release -- June 10th, 2024
Source: Vodafone Group

Vodafone connects UK to the world’s largest subsea cable system

Vodafone Group has landed 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable system. It will bring faster, more reliable internet connections to billions of people globally, from the important UK cable hub of Bude, Cornwall.

  • Vodafone is the landing partner for the latest landing of the 2Africa subsea cable, in Bude, Cornwall.
  • Vodafone is now carrying traffic on part of its 2Africa cable system to deliver additional capacity to customers.
  • 2Africa is the world’s largest fibre-optic cable system ever, connecting three continents and delivering more internet capacity to Africa than all the other subsea cables reaching that continent today.

2Africa will improve connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world while also supporting the expected future demand of other services, such as mobile and fixed broadband. The latest landing in Cornwall will facilitate faster and more reliable connectivity for UK businesses wanting to deliver digital services to Africa, and vice versa.

With a capacity of up to 180 terabits per second (Tbps), 2Africa will be the first system to provide continuous capacity around the African continent, and will connect 33 countries on three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia). Launched in May 2020, it will be more than 45,000 kilometres in length once completed – long enough to stretch around the circumference of the earth.

Massively long subsea cable to give African nations major internet boost

Vodafone is part of a multinational consortium investing in one of the world’s largest fibre optic cable projects.
As the lead partner for the UK landing, Vodafone will be responsible for: managing the physical cable coming ashore; burial on the beach; and installation into a new, purpose-built beach manhole, where 2Africa will connect to terrestrial cable routing back to the existing Vodafone Cable Landing Station. Vodafone will also provide 2Africa with onward connectivity via two diverse terrestrial infrastructure and fibre routes linking to the London area.

The 2Africa consortium is made up of eight international partners: Bayobab; Center3; China Mobile International; Meta; Orange; Telecom Egypt; Vodafone Group; and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks is responsible for the manufacture and installation of the 2Africa cable. More information on is available on the dedicated 2Africa website.

Vodafone owns dual-fibre cables that have a lifespan of 25 years. It has recently started carrying customer traffic on its part of the cable. Vodafone has named the twin-fibre pairs it owns in the cable system after Vodafone Group’s Head of Subsea Partnerships, Rick Perry. The Vodafone system is referred to as SHARP (the System Honouring the Achievements of Rick Perry).

Perry has been involved in the cable project since the beginning. The naming of the Vodafone cable acknowledges his 50 years in international communications.

He attended the Cable & Wireless* training college in nearby Porthcurno and is now a trustee for the PK Porthcurno Museum of Global Communications, which sits on the site of the college. Perry was awarded an OBE in 1999, and then a CBE 10 years later, for services to the telecommunications industry.

Perry said: “2Africa is the world’s most ambitious cable system and will help to narrow the digital divide in Africa. Having landed in the UK, it’s great that the SHARP system is now online and serving customers.”

The internet isn’t in the cloud, it’s under the ocean

Your smartphone’s connection depends on hundreds of thousands of kilometres of deep underwater cables pioneered by the Victorians.
Vodafone has been the partner for 11 landings of the 2Africa cable to date, with its experience in subsea cables tracing back to the landing of the first-ever transoceanic cable in Porthcurno, Cornwall, in 1870.

The company continues to be one of the largest investors in subsea cable systems – currently with capacity on around 80 systems that reach 100 countries. Learn more about Vodafone’s global infrastructure activity.

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Notes to editors:

*Cable & Wireless Worldwide was acquired by Vodafone in 2012.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

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