The Economic impact of the forthcoming Equiano subsea cable in Portugal

Subsea cables are key elements in the global network infrastructure supporting a well-functioning internet. They connect continents and power the global growth of the internet, enabling better local user experience and global traffic stability.

Equiano – a Google-funded state-of-the-art subsea cable scheduled to be operational in 2022 – is being deployed from Portugal to South Africa to improve the digital connectivity between Europe and several West African countries.

Individuals, companies, the public sector, and telco operators will benefit from Equiano by getting access to Google’s services and broadband provided via telco services operated on some of Equiano’s fibre-pairs.

A key backdrop for Equiano is the wider picture on connectivity in Portugal, which is under development. In the 2021/2022 interval, a surge in international internet capacity landing in Portugal will take place, given the forthcoming activation of both Equiano and EllaLink (connecting Portugal to West Africa and Brazil).

The main conclusions of our study are:

For the continuous development of digital connectivity infrastructure, good framework conditions must be in place to ensure sound investments in digital infrastructure. Therefore, we recommend that policy-makers consider relevant policy actions for (i) deploying subsea cables, (ii) maintenance of subsea cables, and (iii) general policies and political vision – as discussed in the study.

The study is commissioned by Google.

For enquiries on the study, please contact Dr Bruno Basalisco.