Hong Kong: Major leaders of the global telecommunications industry today signed a formal construction and maintenance agreement (C&MA) to build the first direct, high-bandwidth optical-fibre submarine cable system from the United Kingdom to India.
The Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system, which will cost close to $700 million, will significantly enhance capacity and diversity between the countries of these regions.
The telecom companies investing in the project include AT&T; Bharti Airtel; BT; C&W; Djibouti Telecom; Du; Gibtelecom; IAM; Libyan Post, Telecom, and Information Technology Company; MTN Group Ltd; Omantel; PT Comunicações, S.A.; Saudi Telecom Company; Telecom Egypt; Telkom SA Ltd; and Verizon Business.
The EIG cable system is targeted to be operational in second quarter of 2010, and comprises a 15,000 kilometre (9,000 mile) system that will connect 13 countries and three continents. Landings are planned in the UK, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and India.
In addition to serving these regions, the EIG cable system will also provide seamless interconnection with other major cable systems connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. The system will utilise state-of-art next generation technology that is designed to provide up to 2.88 terabits (Tbps) using dense-wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) to provide upgradeable transmission facilities that support Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice.
David Nishball, president of enterprise services at Bharti Airtel Ltd., says that there has been a tremendous rise in use of data and broadband applications among enterprises and consumers globally, and India is no exception to heightened online presence, irrespective of whether it is a large enterprise or consumers seeking real-time entertainment over the internet. He says international connectivity has become a vital part of our lives, and as a leading telecommunications provider, Airtel is committed to addressing this growing and increased demand by providing reliable and resilient global networking solutions to its customers.
The EIG cable system will also provide seamless interconnection with other major cable systems connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. This will compliment Airtel's existing high bandwidth cable systems and its recent investments in the I-ME-WE, Unity Cable system and Asia America Gateway cable systems.
Airtel has two international landing stations in Chennai that connect its two existing submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. The company is in the midst of building an additional cable landing station in Mumbai to land the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable.
In addition to complementing existing high bandwidth cable systems in the region, the EIG cable system will provide much needed diversity for broadband traffic currently relying largely on traditional routes from Europe to India. This is seen as important considering the threat of earthquakes in this region.
The EIG cable system, with its large bandwidth and high quality transmission technology, will help meet the present and future growth in telecommunications traffic between the targeted regions. In addition to the C&MA signing, the EIG Consortium also signed a supply contract with Alcatel-Lucent and Tyco Telecommunications for the cable system's construction.