du lays down the future

The second telecom operator of the UAE has joined a consortium to put in place a 15,000 kilometre cabling system, at a total cost of $700m, to improve capacities and add revenue.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  June 16, 2008

The second telecom operator of the UAE has joined a consortium to put in place a 15,000 kilometre cabling system, at a total cost of $700m, to improve capacities and add revenue.

The second telecom operator of the UAE, du, has recently announced its involvement in the construction of the first direct, high-bandwidth optical-fibre submarine cable system from the UK to India.

The operator will collaborate with other major international telecom operators including AT&T, Bharti Airtel and BT for the Europe India Gateway (EIG), which is expected to enhance capacity for the countries involved in the project at a cost of US$700 million.

Du will put in approximately 7% of the cost (around $50 million) and will have a similar amount of capacity allocated to it in the cable system.

"It is a standard agreement as in many other cases. Many different players with common interests get together to satisfy their needs across different places. We club our resources together to make this possible," says Andrew Grenville, executive vice president international and wholesale for du.

According to Grenville, Du will put in approximately 7% of the cost (around $50 million) and will have a similar amount of capacity allocated to it in the cable system. du will also be putting up a landing station at Fujairah, UAE, as part of the deal to have one landing station per country.

The EIG cable system, which is targeted to be operational in the second quarter of 2010, is a 15,000 kilometre system that will connect 13 countries and three continents. Landings are planned in the UK, Portugal, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE and India among others.

The system will use next generation technology designed to provide up to 3.84Tbits/sec speeds using dense wavelength division multiplexing that can support internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice services.

Grenville adds that du expects to use the cabling system for multiple services.

"The cables will take a different route undersea and will avoid congested parts. This gives us diversity in getting traffic in and out of the country. If our primary lines are cut, we can re-route traffic easily.

The cables will also help us ensure better quality and provide an improved experience to our customers in the UAE. We already have a large broadband base, across residential and business needs and this is growing phenomenally.

We need a huge amount of capacity to make sure the customer's experiences remains good," states Grenville.

du will share its capacity on the EIG system among its various users and consider allocating dedicated bandwidth for certain highly used traffic routes to other countries. The system can also become a revenue generation tool in the future as it enables du to lend out capacity to other operators as the need arises.

Grenville adds that different cabling providers, Tyco among them, will be roped in to provide various sections of the system across the entire distance that it will cover.

"This system is built for reliability and to last upwards of 15 years. It is a very significant investment for du and, apart from providing RoI continuously, we expect the EIG cable system to establish that we are here for the long term," concludes Grenville.

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