Cabling Africa: the great data race to serve the ‘last billion’

Ideas

Cabling Africa: the great data race to serve the ‘last billion’

Technology companies from Google to Facebook are scrambling to upgrade the continent’s digital infrastructure

Joseph Cotterill

Johannesburg was built on a gold rush. But in the Isando Campus business park on the outskirts of SA’s financial centre, a much more precious substance is being piled up at an even more frenetic pace.

This is the home of Teraco, Africa’s biggest operator of independent data centres — the facilities that make the modern internet go round and house content for the likes of Google, Netflix and telecom companies.

Inside there is a monastic air, with quiet climatically-controlled corridors of racks. But outside is a flurry of construction activity. Clients have just moved into Teraco’s latest data centre, but the groundwork has already begun on its next one, a 38-megawatt facility a few kilometres away that will be Africa’s largest yet, aiming to entice the world’s top cloud-computing providers...

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