Batelco signs multi-million dollar deal with FLAG

Batelco has signed a major multi-million dollar agreement that provides a landing station for FLAG Telecom’s Falcon cable system in Bahrain. The agreement promises to boost the country’s global connections via submarine links stretching to Egypt in the West and to Hong Kong in the East.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  July 28, 2004

Batelco has signed a major multi-million dollar agreement that provides a landing station for FLAG Telecom’s Falcon cable system in Bahrain. In addition, Batelco has signed a capacity agreement, purchasing international connectivity on the cable system to allow it to connect directly to any point on the FLAG global network. While the exact financials of the deal were not released by the state run operator, the agreement promises to boost the country’s global connections via submarine links stretching to Egypt in the west and to Hong Kong in the East. The new capacity purchase will provide a four-fold increase in resilient international circuits into and out of Bahrain and offer loop protection within the Gulf region. “This enormous investment represents a tremendous strategic step by Batelco that will allow The Kingdom of Bahrain to benefit from direct connectivity with the world’s key metropolitan centres for the first time ever,” says Batelco’s chairman Rasheed Al-Maraj. The Falcon cable also incorporates the Gulf region’s first self-healing submarine network ring, providing all countries connected to the cable with high level of bandwidth. Countries that have the potential to directly access this resilient connectivity include Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran and Iraq. “Falcon will be the first cable system to provide fully protected connectivity within the Gulf and will allow Bahrain to diversify its current capacity arrangements,” explains Tony Hart, chief executive officer at Batelco. “Falcon will also have many times more capacity than the existing regional links. This terabit connectivity will enable Batelco to confidently roll out broadband and other advanced telecommunications services to our customers, at faster speeds and more cost-effectively than ever before.” Branching units can be added along the entire Falcon cable route to allow more countries in the region to connect to the system as their communications needs continue to expand. “These agreements underscore the regional importance of direct connectivity to high-quality, terabit capacity. FLAG has worked closely with our valued partner, Batelco, for many years and through Falcon. We will continue to support the global connectivity needs of Bahrain and the wider region,” says Patrick Gallagher, CEO of FLAG Telecom. From the Gulf, the western link of the Falcon system follows a route across the top of the Arabian Sea and through the Red Sea, where it will interconnect with FLAG’s global network at Telecom Egypt’s landing station at Suez. Travelling from Oman along its easterly link, Falcon will cross the Arabian Sea to a new Reliance-owned landing station at Mumbai, India. At this point Falcon will interconnect to Reliance’s pan-India 80,000 km high-speed backbone network linking 1,100 cities and towns across the length and breadth of the country. From Chennai, on the East coast of India Falcon will link India to Hong Kong, where the cable will once again integrate with Flag’s global network. Falcon has plans to provide additional resilience across the major route from Egypt to Hong Kong and particularly around the Middle East. “We are delighted to have concluded this agreement. This marks another milestone event in the long standing and successful relationship between FLAG Telecom and Batelco and we look forward to gathering again next year to celebrate the inauguration of the Falcon landing station,” adds Walid Irshaid, president, Middle East and Africa, FLAG Telecom. FLAG Telecom, a member company of the US$22.6 billion Indian Reliance Group, has similar agreements with 180 operators and ten international carriers. Reliance acquired the bandwidth provider on 12 January 2004.

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