Bharti form consortium to build cable system linking Asia, US

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New Delhi, Feb 26: Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it has executed an agreement with five leading international companies, to build a high-bandwidth undersea fibre-optic cable system 'Unity' linking Asia and the US, which will cost an estimated 300 million dollars.

''The system Unity will address broadband demand by providing much needed capacity to sustain the unprecedented growth in data and internet traffic between Asia and the US,'' a company statement said. The consortium comprises Bharti Airtel, Malaysia-based Global Transit Ltd, Google, Japan's KDDI Corporation, and Pacnet and SingTel from Singapore. ''This investment is in line with our strategy to extend our international footprint across the globe to provide seamless connectivity to our customers through partnerships with leading global companies,'' Airtel Enterprise Services President David Nishball said.

The consortium has selected NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications to construct and install the system, which will begin immediately, with initial capacity targeted to be available in the first quarter of 2010.

Unity will provide connectivity between Chikura, located off the coast near Tokyo, to Los Angeles and other West Coast network points of presence.
At Chikura, Unity will be seamlessly connected to other cable systems, further enhancing connectivity into Asia.

Unity will initially increase Trans-Pacific lit cable capacity by about 20 percent, with the potential to add up to 7.68 Terabits per second (Tb/s) of bandwidth across the Pacific, the statement said. The cable system will compliment Bharti Airtel's existing high bandwidth cable systems in the region.

Bharti has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Singapore and Europe. It has also recently undertaken a series of initiatives to extend its international footprint and has partnered the Asia America Gateway cable system to provide the much-needed diversity against traditional routes to the US, mainly carrying broadband traffic.

Earlier this month, Bharti had announced the IMEWE cable - a high-capacity fibre-optic submarine cable that stretches from India to France via West Asia.

UNI

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