A subsea cable owned by Google arrived in Togo on Friday, the company’s latest step in a multi-year project to provide cheaper internet access to millions of users across Africa.
The Equiano cable, expected to double internet speeds for Togo’s eight million residents, made its way from Portugal to the West African country.
It may only be a taste of future possibilities for other countries set to benefit in a region where internet use is surging but where slow networks are often a drag on economic development.
Google’s new line will also be installed in Nigeria, Namibia, and South Africa, with planned branches offering connections to nearby countries.
The cable is expected to start operating by the end of the year.
According to GSMA Intelligence, sub-Saharan Africa was the world’s least-connected region as of 2020, with roughly a quarter of the population still lacking broadband coverage compared to seven percent globally.
Most countries in West Africa are ranked the lowest by the World Bank for internet penetration.
The Equiano cable is expected to reduce internet prices by 14 percent by 2025, Togo being the first to benefit, according to a Google-backed assessment by Africa Practice Genesis Analytics.
Google said the cable will indirectly create 37,000 jobs in Togo in three years and boost its GDP by $193 million.