New Delhi, Feb 6: Telecom major Bharti Airtel today signed an agreement along with eight major leaders of the global telecommunications industry to build a high-capacity fiber-optic submarine cable, stretching from India to France via West Asia.
The cable system, known as I-ME-WE (India, Middle East, Western Europe) is the fifth in the series of similar cable systems which includes the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe(SEA-ME-WE) series, a company statement said. Altogether nine leading telecommunications companies globally, including the country's VSNL, Etisalat (UAE), France Telecom (France), Ogero (Lebanon), PTCL (Pakistan), STC (Saudi Arabia), TE (Egypt) and TIS Sparkle (Italy), have come together to form the I-ME-WE consortium and are spearheading the cable project.
Besides, the supply contract for the construction of the I-ME-WE submarine cable system was also signed by the consortium members.
The cable system, which is designed to provide 3.84 terabits per second and covers a distance of almost 14,000 kilometers, extends from India to France.
The I-ME-WE, which will start providing services by 2009-end, will meet the ever-growing capacity requirement of Asia, West Asia and Europe, in addition to satisfying the capacity needs of the US to these regions as well. The system will compliment the company's existing high bandwidth cable systems in the region.
The company's Executive Director-Global Network Services, Mr Rajan Swaroop said,''Our partnership in I-ME-WE cable system reinforces our commitment to invest in state of the art technologies for providing scalable and future proof solutions for our International customers.''
''This investment is in line with our strategy to extend our International footprint and focus on connecting our customers in India to the West Asia and Europe. While our existing i2i and SEA-ME-WE-4 cable systems already provide connectivity across the globe, the I-ME-WE cable system will help offer increased redundancy and resilient networks, while meeting the increasing demands of voice, private data and Internet traffic,'' he said in the statement.
''This partnership will also play a key role in our endeavour to provide alternate routes for meeting the bandwidth requirements of our customers at any given time,'' he added.
Bharti Airtel has two international landing stations in Chennai which connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe.
The company has also signed an agreement with the Asia America Gateway cable system to provide the much-needed diversity against traditional routes to the US, mainly carrying broadband traffic.