Operators to build regional cable system

Telcos sign agreement to build multi-terabit cable to connect Middle East with Europe

Tags: Etisalat International - UAEFibre optic cableJordanOrange JordanSaudi ArabiaSyriaUkraineUnited Arab Emirates
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Operators to build regional cable system Mohammad Omran, CEO, Etisalat, said the cable system will help cater for growing demand for high speed broadband services in the region. (Val Handumon/ITP Images)
By  Roger Field Published  July 18, 2010

Six of the region's leading telecom operators have signed an agreement to build and maintain a multi-terabit terrestrial cable system to connect the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria to Europe.

UAE telco Etisalat, Mobily of Saudi Arabia, Jordan Telecom, Syrian Telecom, and a coalition between Zain Jordan and Mada, have joined forces to build the 4,000 km cable system, which is called Regional Cable Network (RCN). Various unnamed European companies are also involved in the project.

Mohammad Omran, chairman of Etisalat said the project, which would be the first "terabit terrestrial cable" to connect the Middle East to Europe, would provide extra capacity for anticipated demand for broadband services.

"We are keen to support this initiative which will no doubt cater for the future needs of the telecom sector," he said.

Last month, four of the region's incumbent telecom operators; Türk Telekom, Saudi Telecom, Jordan Telecom and Syria Telecom, create a separate terrestrial fibre optic cable system called Jadi Link, connecting the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East. The system, which went live in June, will reach full capacity in Q3, according to a spokesman for Türk Telekom.

Apart from allowing operators in the region to cater for growing demand for high speed broadband services, the new systems are in part a response to recent problems with undersea cable systems, including the Sea-Me-We 4 submarine cable system, which caused major disruptions to internet services in the Gulf for two weeks in April.

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