Kenya and Tanzania are among 16 African countries set to benefit from 2Africa, a subsea 4G and 5G Internet project that will link them Europe and the Middle East.
The 37,000-kilometre project brings together telecommunications companies including China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC.
The parties have appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks to build the cable.
The other African countries in the project are Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia.
In Europe, the cable will link the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France while the Middle East will be served through Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The system is expected to go live in 2023, delivering more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second on key parts of the system.
The project aims at delivering Internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa and push growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.
"In countries where the 2Africa cable will land, service providers will obtain capacity in carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis.
“This will support healthy internet ecosystem development by facilitating greatly improved accessibility for businesses and consumers alike," reads a statement on the project.
The 2Africa cable has been designed to improve resilience and maximise performance, including the option of a seamless optical crossing between East Africa and Europe.