Today marks 25 years exactly since Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the concept of the World Wide Web. To celebrate the News Team has put together this infographic showing the major arteries of Internet communication that (alongside satellite links) give Africa access to the Web, and the effect they have on the countries they serve.
The story of Africa’s undersea cables goes back fifteen years. Before 2000, when SEA-ME-WE 3 went live, nowhere on the Continent had a cable link to the global Net. 2001 saw the establishment of SAT3, bringing the first access to Sub-Saharan Africa; but it was only in 2009 that East Africa, the last major unconnected region on earth, was linked up via the 76% African-owned SEACOM cable.
Since then, growth has accelerated, cables have increased in capacity, and even bigger projects are in the pipeline. New cables are planned across the South Atlantic and between the BRICS economies, while governments expand the terrestrial cable networks to extend the Internet to landlocked regions and rural areas. It is the extent of this physical development of the Internet which will define how Africans engage with the World Wide Web during its next quarter-century of existence.
Note: cables included are those providing data rates over 1Tbps. Connections are schematic and do not represent actual branching. Data is subject to change and may be inaccurate.