Facebook to use Barcelona landing station for world's longest fiber optic subsea cable
Newly inaugurated infrastructure will host 2Africa cable
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, will use the newly inaugurated Barcelona Cable Landing Station to connect the Catalan capital with its 2Africa fiber optic cable, the world's longest fiber optic subsea cable.
Located by Sant Adrià de Besòs beach, immediately north of Barcelona, the installation opened on October 13, and is led by African telecommunications company AFR-IX.
The CLS can host up to eight different submarine fiber optic cables connecting Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean shore, and the United States of America.
One of these will be Meta's 2Africa, which will connect Barcelona, at one end, with the British seaside town of Bude at the other. The cable will connect 46 cities, including the Catalan capital, across its 45,000 kilometers.
With its connection to the CLS, 2Africa will allow "companies and service providers from Spain to access this international connectivity from any of the installations directly connected with Barcelona Cable Landing Station," a statement shared by Meta reads.
"The subsea cable has been designed to offer international connectivity to around three billion people, which represent 36% of the world's population, and connects three different continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia," the company added.
Some of the cities the cable will connect are Luanda (Angola), Port Said (Egypt), Marseille (France), Genoa (Italy), Barka (Oman), Doha (Qatar), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Cape Town (South Africa), Gran Canaria (Spain), and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).
One of Meta's partners in the project is China Mobile International, which was interested in linking some of the Gulf countries. Other members of the 2Africa consortium are MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone, and WIOCC.
Subsea cables lay the foundation for a global internet, connecting people and continents, and they are sure to have a key role in Europe's current development
Meta director, Spain and Portugal
"2Africa will help those communities who depend on the internet for services such as education, health, and business," she added.
On a similar note, AFR-IX telecom general director Norman Albi welcomed the news: "Selecting this landing point to connect 2Africa shows the many competitive benefits of making Barcelona a cable landing destination in the Mediterranean."
Not Catalonia's first subsea cable
Meta already connects Spain with the United States of America via another subsea cable, Marea, going from the Basque city of Bilbao to Virginia Beach. The company claims that the 6.600-kilometer subsea cable has contributed $18 million (€18.2 million) to the European economy since 2019.
Bilbao hosts two more subsea cables: Tata TGN-Western Europe connecting with the town of Seixal in Portugal, and Highbridge, in the UK.
The other one, owned by Google and named 'Grace Hopper' links Bilbao, Bude, and Bellport in the United States.
Right now, Barcelona does not have any working subsea cable as the city’s other connection, the Medusa subsea cable, is still under construction. The 8,760km long cable is expected to reach the Catalan shore before 2023 and has been promoted by AFR-IX Telecom, the company behind Barcelona CLS.
However, Gavà, south of Barcelona, already has the first Catalan subsea cable, owned by Telefonica, connecting the town with Ses Covetes, in Mallorca.