Facebook have revealed plans to build a 37,000-kilometer undersea cable around Africa in an attempt to improve internet access around the continent.

The cable will be “nearly equal to the circumference of the Earth” according to Facebook and will interconnect 23 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Europe once complete.

Africa currently has an estimated 1.3 billion residents, but according to Facebook, it is one of the world’s “least connected” regions.

Facebook said in a blog post, “We are committed to bringing more people online to a faster internet — and with 3.5 billion people globally unconnected, there is still a lot to do.”

For the project, which is named 2Africa, the organisation has partnered with numerous global network providers. The cable will be designed so that it can be buried three meters deeper than average in order to help prevent damage.

Facebook added, “2Africa is being completed as part of our efforts toward an open and inclusive internet ecosystem, which is a vital part of the continent’s digital economic growth. The first subsea cable system to seamlessly connect East and West Africa across a single open system, 2Africa will enable new avenues of communication from coast to coast.”

Reportedly, the cable will offer around three times the total network capacity of all the other cables that currently serve Africa. Facebook states that the current COVID-19 pandemic makes the project much more urgent and it is estimated that the project will cost $1 billion (£826,193,600)