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Home >Companies >News >Reliance Jio, others tie up to build BBG submarine cable system

New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has joined a consortium of six operators to construct an undersea cable connecting India to West Asia and South Asia, signalling that the Mukesh Ambani-promoted company expects a surge in data use once its services begin.

The 8,000km Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine cable system will be deployed by Alcatel Lucent and have a 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) capacity, upgradable to 400 Gbps in four years, RJIL and Alcatel Lucent said in separate statements on Tuesday.

The consortium includes Telekom Malaysia Berhad, the UK’s Vodafone Group, Omantel, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates, and Dialog Axiata Plc of Sri Lanka.

The cable will connect Malaysia and Singapore to Oman and the UAE in West Asia, with connections to Sri Lanka and Mumbai and Chennai in India.

The cable will further connect to the Transantlantic and Transpacific cables on either end, providing RJIL connectivity to the rest of the world.

“The construction of this cable system is a clear indication of the growing demand
for bandwidth at the participating countries. The markets are expected to see strong growth with the continuous efforts in embracing the broadband technologies and infrastructure expansion," RJIL said.

Construction of the cable is expected to be completed and ready for commercial deployment next year, it said.

Earlier in April, RJIL announced it had signed a pact with Bharti Airtel Ltd to use its i2i cable that connects Chennai to Singapore.

An executive, involved with the development, said that while the i2i cable will provide the requisite capacity for now, the company will need far more capacity over the next few years.

“RJIL has some capacity on i2i which is ready for use now. The new cable will provide for future requirements, especially due to its upgrading capability," the executive said, declining to be identified.

“For any cable to get fully deployed, it takes five-six years and not a few months," said Sivarama Krishnan, executive director, PwC India. “Secondly, every operator needs the onward connectivity to the rest of the world. Access to the Middle East, that has become a hub for undersea cables, gives them (RJIL) onward connectivity or access to Europe and the Americas."

Reliance Jio Infocomm is the communications services subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, and the only company to have won Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum across the country in the 2010 spectrum auction.

BWA spectrum is expected to be used for fourth-generation or 4G technologies like TD LTE, similar to what Bharti Airtel has launched in Kolkata and Bangalore.

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