Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), the communication infrastructure arm of the Tata group, is in talks with two submarine cable consortiums in Africa for equity participation. The cable consortiums are owned by 25 telecom operators from various African companies.
The Tatas plan to invest close to $100 million (Rs 400 crore) for equity participation in two cable links in the eastern and western coasts of Africa. The cable consortiums include East African Submarine Cable System (EASSY), funded by the African Development Bank and other one a west coast African network which would be given a name after completion of financial closure.
"VSNL has initiated talks with consortium members. An equity participation will ensure significant bandwidth availability for the company," said a source close to the development. According to industry sources, the company is planning to invest over $600 million (Rs 2,400 crore) over the next two years for the expansion of its undersea cable assets.
The plan includes the expansion of TGN Intra Asia (which connects Singapore to Japan), TGN Euratia (India to France), IMEWE (cable that connect India and Middle East to Western Europe) and SEMEWE 4&5 (cable network that connects Western Europe to the Far East).
VSNL currently has a 60,000 km-strong submarine cable network.