VSNL told to allow access to FLAG link
A Netherlands court on Monday allowed Reliance Globalcom access to key facility that would allow it transmit cross-continental data connecting Europe with far-eastern Asian regions including Japan.
The District Court of the Hague, Netherlands upheld an earlier judgment by an international arbitration tribunal asking Tata Communications, allow access to the key landing station at Mumbai known as the Flag Europe Asia (FEA) Cable.
FEA passes through 15 countries and connects Europe with Asia.
FEA, also called as landing stations, passes through 15 countries. In India, it is routed through Tata-run Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, which controls its 'Mumbai landing station'.
Due to technological advances, Flag is now in a position to enhance the capacity of cable system from 10 Gbps to 80 Gbps, for which it needs access to Mumbai landing station.
But VSNL's stand was that under Construction and Maintenance Agreement between the two, it was not under obligation to grant access to Flag. So Flag took the matter for arbitration before International Chamber of Commerce.
“Given that none of the arguments advanced by VSNL ( now known as Tata Communications) is accepted by the Court, its claims will have to be rejected”, said the court in its statement.
In May 2006, a three-member Arbitration Tribunal of The International Chambers of Commerce, had handed down a similar judgement.
Reliance Globalcom, earlier known as FLAG Telecom, sought access to the FEA station that is routed through Tata Communications. Reliance Globalcom is a subsidiary of Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications.
The latter has maintained that under the Construction and Maintenance Agreement between the two, it was not obligatory to offer access of FEA to Flag.
The court also ruled that Tata Communications would have to pay Euro 248 for expenses and Euro 12,844 for legal representation to Flag.
Reliance Globalcom has sought compensation totalling $400 million for preventing access to landing station. A ruling by an international arbitration panel is awaited on matter.