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Bharti, others to lay cable to UK

Bharti Airtel joins a global consortium to build a $700-million undersea cable system that will cut through 13 countries and link India to Britain. HT Correspondent reports.

india Updated: May 08, 2008 00:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Hindustantimes
         

Bharti Airtel, India’s top mobile-phone operator, on Wednesday said it has joined a global consortium to build a $700-million undersea cable system that will cut through 13 countries and link India to Britain.

Bharti has signed a construction and maintenance agreement in London for the Europe India Gateway (EIG), the first high-bandwidth, optical-fibre cable system from India to Britain, a company statement said.

Fifteen other firms are taking part in the 15,000-kilometre (9,000-mile) project that will start carrying commercial traffic by the second quarter of 2010, the statement said. Among the firms are AT&T, BT, C&W, Djibouti Telecom, Gibtelecom, Libyan Telecom, MTN Group, Omantel, Saudi Telecom Company, Telecom Egypt, Telkom SA and Verizon Business.

An Airtel official said the undersea cable will significantly enhance the bandwidth capacity to connect India to West Asia and Europe.

Bharti Airtel is the only Indian service provider to be a part of this consortium, and will operate the cable landing station in Mumbai.

The Mumbai station will support Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice transmission.

The project will help meet a "tremendous rise in use of data and broadband applications among enterprises and consumers" in India, said David Nishball, head of enterprise services at Bharti Airtel.