- A new submarine broadband cable system is to provide high-capacity connectivity between North Africa and Asia. The 15,000 kilometres cable system will link Egypt and Hong Kong via India and is to be in service by early 2005. It strengthens Egypt's role as a regional telecom hub.
The new "self-healing" broadband cable system was today announced by the London-based company Flag Telecom, which hopes to "strengthen" its "market leadership position" by operating the network.
According to the British company, the cable system will markedly increase connectivity into and out of Egypt, the Middle East, India and China. It will make regional hubs out of Egypt, India and Hong Kong, with special emphasis on the west coasts of India, where all major cities are to be linked by a terrestrial network.
Commenting at today's announcement, Patrick Gallagher, Flag Telecom CEO, said that the system "will dramatically change the global communications infrastructure balance." He added that his company had "recognised for some time that the exploding market demand from major growth economies could not be served by the bandwidth connectivity serving the Middle East and Asia today."
The announcement today follows months of project development work, explained Mr Gallagher. "We are now in final negotiations with a shortlist of suppliers." All initial engineering work has been completed and preparations for the marine survey were said to be well under way. "With a forecast initial service date of within 12 months, this is an extremely challenging project, but we believe it is essential to support the growth economies of the Middle East, India and China," added the Flag CEO.
The system, which has been termed the Falcon Project, will include the Middle East region's first self-healing submarine network ring, also providing all countries in the Gulf connected to the high capacity cable with extremely reliable, high quality connectivity.
Telecom Egypt today welcomed the Falcon Project. "As a key regional provider of advanced services, Telecom Egypt has committed to participate in the Falcon project," a spokesperson of the company commented.
Telecom Egypt for some time has been a natural hub for many international cable crossings in North Africa and the Middle East. According to the Cairo-based company, "Falcon allows us to both consolidate our strategic position and provides a catalyst for supporting the introduction of broadband, ADSL and other such initiatives throughout Egypt."
The western link of the Falcon system will land at Telecom Egypt's Landing Station at Suez, where the cable will integrate with Flag's global network. Falcon will then follow a route through the Red Sea along the East African coast and across the top of the Arabian Sea before landing in Oman.
The Falcon Project will be funded by Flag, Reliance - which is India's largest mobile service provider - and commitments from participating national telecom operators. According to Flag, the company's cable network already spans the globe, and from the Falcon system's landing in Egypt, the Gulf, India and Hong Kong, it will therefore be easily connected to existing regional networks.
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