Submarine cable to link Europe, Middle East and India

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A group of 16 global telcos is to build a high-bandwidth submarine cable system to link Europe, the Middle East and India..

The 15,000km Europe India Gateway (EIG) optical fibre cable system will cost around US$700 million, and is expected to significantly enhance capacity and diversity between the regions.

EIG is expected to be up and running by the second quarter of 2010, and will connect three continents.

The 16 companies investing in the project are AT&T, Bharti Airtel, BT, Cable &Wireless, Djibouti Telecom, Du Gibtelecom, IAM, Libyan Post Telecom and Information Technology Company, MTN Group, Omantel, PT Comunicacoes, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telkom SA and Verizon Business.

Thirteen 'landings' are planned in the UK, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates and India.

The EIG will also provide seamless interconnection with other major cable systems connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.

Bandwidth of up to 3.84Tbps will be achieved using dense wavelength division multiplexing to support video, data and voice services.

It is anticipated that the EIG will provide much-needed diversity for broadband traffic currently relying largely on traditional routes from Europe to India. This is important considering the threat of earthquakes in the region.

The EIG consortium has also signed a supply contract with Alcatel-Lucent and Tyco Telecommunications for the cable system's construction.

A similar, more powerful, system is currently being built between the US and Japan by a consortium of six companies and is expected to be in service by the first quarter of 2010 with a potential capacity of 7.68Tbps.
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