Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it will set up another high-capacity undersea cable, which will connect India to France through the Middle East, in association with eight global telecom players by the end of next year.
A formal construction and maintenance agreement to build a high-capacity fibre-optic submarine cable that would stretch from India to France through the Middle East was signed today in Rome by all the firms.
The cable system -- I-ME-WE (India, Middle East, Western Europe) -- is the fifth in the series of similar cable systems, which includes the SEA-ME-WE series, and is likely to be available for service by the end of 2009, a Bharti Airtel statement said here.
The nine global telecom companies that have come together to form the I-ME-WE consortium include Bharti Airtel (India), Etisalat (UAE), France Telecom (France), Ogero (Lebanon), PTCL (Pakistan), STC (Saudi Arabia), TE (Egypt), TIS Sparkle (Italy) and VSNL (India).
The supply contract for the construction of I-ME-WE submarine cable system was also signed today by the consortium members, the statement added.
This announcement has come within days of damage to three undersea cables, two off the coast of Egypt and one in Middle east. The damage had slowed down internet services in India for some time.
About the project, Rajan Swaroop, Executive Director- Global
Network Services, Airtel Enterprise Services said: "This is in line with our strategy to extend our international footprint and focus on connecting our customers in India to the Middle East and Europe."