New Delhi, February 6, 2008: Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom services provider, along with eight major leaders of the global telecommunications industry has signed a formal Construction and Maintenance Agreement in Rome today to build a high-capacity fiber-optic submarine cable that stretches from India to France via the Middle East. The cable system, known as I-ME-WE (India, Middle East, Western Europe) is the fifth in the series of similar cable systems which includes the SEA-ME-WE series.
Nine leading telecommunications companies globally have come together to form the I-ME-WE consortium and are spearheading the cable project. These include Bharti Airtel (India), Etisalat (UAE), France Telecom (France), Ogero (Lebanon), PTCL (Pakistan), STC (Saudi Arabia), TE (Egypt), TIS Sparkle (Italy) and VSNL (India). The Supply Contract for the construction of the I-ME-WE submarine cable system was also signed today by the consortium members.
Mr. Rajan Swaroop, Executive Director-Global Network Services, Airtel Enterprise Services said, “Our partnership in I-ME-WE cable system reinforces our commitment to invest in state of the art technologies for providing scalable and future proof solutions for our International customers. This investment is in line with our strategy to extend our International footprint and focus on connecting our customers in India to the Middle East and Europe. While our existing i2i and SEA-ME-WE-4 cable systems already provide connectivity across the globe, the I-ME-WE cable system will help offer increased redundancy and resilient networks, while meeting the increasing demands of voice, private data and Internet traffic. This partnership will also play a key role in our endeavor to provide alternate routes for meeting the bandwidth requirements of our customers at any given time.”
The I-ME-WE cable system is designed to provide 3.84 terabits per second and covers a distance of almost 14,000 kilometers, extending from India right up to France. The cable system is likely to be available for service by late 2009. Once complete, it shall meet the ever-growing capacity requirement of Asia, Middle East and Europe besides satisfying the capacity needs of USA to these regions as well.
The I-ME-WE cable system will compliment Bharti Airtel’s existing high bandwidth cable systems in the region. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. Bharti Airtel has also recently partnered the Asia America Gateway cable system to provide the much-needed diversity against traditional routes to the US, mainly carrying broadband traffic.
About Bharti Airtel Limited:
Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is India’s leading integrated telecom services provider with an aggregate of 57.34 million customers as of end of December 2007, consisting of 55.16 million mobile customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among the best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list 2007.
Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units - Mobile services, Telemedia services and Enterprise services. The mobile business provides mobile & fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The Telemedia business provides broadband & telephone services in 94 cities and is foraying into the IPTV and DTH segments. The Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national & international long distance services to carriers. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand. Airtel’s high-speed optic fibre network currently spans over 55,000 kms covering all the major cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. For more information, visit www.bhartiairtel.in