Bharti, SingTel tie up for submarine optical cable network

By : |March 8, 2001 0

CHENNAI: Bharti, India’s leading telecom conglomerate, in association with
Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), has formed a 50:50 joint venture
company, Network i2i, India’s first private submarine cable company.

The firm will build and operate a submarine optical fiber cable ring network
linking Singapore, Chennai and Mumbai with a design capacity of 8.4 Tbps at a
cost of $650 million. The i2i network will provide bandwidth to a wide array of
consumers such as ISPs, call centers, data centers, international voice and data
operations, and software companies at competitive prices.

The first phase of the network, which is internally funded and estimated to
cost about $250 million, will link Singapore and Chennai with the landing
station in Chennai. Work on the 3,200km long Singapore-Chennai leg of the
network has already begun and is expected to complete by the year-end. Nearly Rs
100-150 crore has been disbursed for the cable station in Chennai.

With the second phase of the 10,800km-ring network linking Singapore with
Mumbai expected to be completed by the middle of next year, commercial traffic
will commence by the 2002. Bharti Aquanet, another 51:49 per cent joint venture
between Bharti and SingTel, will manage and operate the cable stations and
market its services in India.

Bharti Telesonic, the third joint venture between Bharti and SingTel has
already commenced operations for laying down the terrestrial links from Chennai
to Mumbai, which is expected to end by July 2001. After completion of the i2i
network, it will be linked to SingTel’s extensive cable network including C2C,
SEA-ME_WE 3 and APCN 2.

“India will now be able to fulfil the demand for enhanced bandwidth in
the subcontinent, triggering a southward revision of prices. Ultimately, we will
have to carry the capacity of the Singapore-Chennai-Mumbai network to other
cities and towns in India. For this, Bharti telesonic has already routed
10,000km of fiber optic cables in the country. Another 45,000km will be covered
in the next two years. The i2i network will also support Bharti’s Domestic Long
Distance Service,” said Bharti Enterprises corporate director Viresh Dayal.

“A submarine optical fiber cable network will spearhead new business
opportunities and a never-before city-to-city bandwidth connectivity for India.
With its huge population, India has the potential for more than one submarine
cable networks,” said SingTel vice president Hoh Wing Chee.

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