- Today marks a moment in digital history as Google’s Equiano undersea fibre optic internet cable lands on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, making this remote British Overseas Territory the first shore cable landing for the Equiano project between Europe and southern Africa.
- In December 2019, the St Helena Government (SHG) signed a contract with Google to connect St Helena Island to the Equiano undersea fibre optic internet cable, delivering St Helena’s first high-speed, fibre-optic connectivity.
- This marks a new technological era for the second most remote inhabited island in the world and will have a huge impact not only on the daily lives of local residents, but on its ability to attract inward investment and tourism.
Saint Helena is a British possession located in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Google just connected St. Helena as a Covid free British African Tourism Region
So far COVID-19 is unknown in this remote region of the world.
This remote volcanic tropical island lying some 1,950 kilometers (1,210 mi) west of the coast of southwestern Africa, and 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro on the South American coast.
The cable layer ship Teliri, carrying the cable, arrived from Walvis Bay on 31 August 2021 at Rupert’s Bay. The cable end was dropped off the side of the ship, and divers then placed the cable into pre-laid articulated piping, beginning from 6 am today. The end of the cable was installed at the Modular Cable Landing Station (MCLS) in Rupert’s, where the cable will link into the island’s digital infrastructure. Earlier this month team of twelve personnel arrived via charter flight from the UK, France, Greece and Bulgaria to facilitate landing the cable and test the power feed equipment within the Landing Station.
SHG’s Head of Sustainable Development, Damian Burns, commented: “This project is integral to St Helena’s Digital Strategy and should make a huge difference to the daily lives of our residents. Online education opportunities should be revolutionized, new investment opportunities should open up, islanders should have better access to telemedicine services, and we should be able to attract digital nomads from anywhere in the world.
Burns goes onto say: The Equiano cable puts St Helena on the digital map, and whilst we have remained COVID-free, the impact of the global pandemic has meant we had to introduce quarantine and other preventative measures at our borders, affecting business and tourism on the island. This monumental day marks a significant moment in time when we can see a hopeful future of recovery and prosperity ahead.
St Helena’s cable branch is approximately 1,154km long and will link the island to the main trunk of the Equiano cable, connecting to Europe and southern Africa. Speeds will range from a few hundred gigabits per second up to multiple terabits, significantly quicker than the current satellite service.
The cable will go live once both the St Helena branch and the main trunk of the Equiano cable are laid, powered, and tested; and once the local infrastructure and provider are in place and ready to go live at St Helena.