Google Equiano Cable Branch to Saint Helena Activated
By Georgia Butler, Data Center Dynamics
October 3, 2023
The Saint Helena branch of the Google Equiano cable was activated on October 1.
Marking the first time the island has ever had an Internet connection via high-speed subsea fiber optic cables (as opposed to relying on satellites), the latest branch of Equiano is now live.
The branch connecting Saint Helena extends 1,140km and arrived at the island in September 2021. By June 2023, the installation and integration of the cable's Submarine Line Terminal Equipment was completed, at which point work began on the local terrestrial fiber optic network.
According to network monitor Kentik, with Equiano now live, Saint Helena has seen a drop in latency of 657ms to 131ms from London.
The cable will be used by Low Earth Orbit satellite firm OneWeb. OneWeb announced plans to set up a ground station on the Island in May 2023, and signed a 10-year agreement with local telco Sure, which will also manage the facility, for access to the cable's capacity.
In other cable news, at the US-Pacific Islands Forum Summit, the US announced it would invest an initial $3 million in developing a subsea cable to connect the Pacific Islands, followed by up to $12 million to support spurs in the region.
The Central Pacific Subsea cable would run from Guam to American Samoa, completing a triangle with Hawaii, and could connect up to twelve additional Pacific Island countries.
If it goes ahead, the cable will be the first subsea cable to connect to the Island of Tuvalu, which is home to a population of ~11,000 people.