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    Bharti and SingTel establish Network i2i Limited Launches India's first private submarine cable company

     

    Network i2i to build and operate Singapore-India submarine cable network 

     

    Bharti Aquanet to operate and maintain cable stations in India 

     

    Bharti Telesonic to provide backhaul traffic distribution for all relevant cities in India 

     

    Work on new Chennai cable station begins 

     

    Project to be completed by 3rd quarter 2002 

     



    Chennai, March 8, 2001 - Bharti Group, India's leading telecom conglomerate and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) today announced the formation of Network i2i Limited, India's first private submarine cable company. Network i2i, a 50:50 joint venture between Bharti and SingTel, will undertake the largest infrastructure project ever between Singaporean and Indian companies.
     

    Network i2i will build and operate a submarine optical fibre cable network, estimated to cost US$650 million. The self-healing, 10,800 km-long ring network (i2i cable network) will link Singapore, Chennai and Mumbai. Bharti Aquanet Ltd., a 51:49 per cent joint venture between Bharti and SingTel will manage and operate the cable stations in India.


    For the first phase of the cable network, Network i2i has established the first landing point of the cable network in Chennai. Work on the Chennai cable station has begun. The 3,200 km-long Singapore-Chennai leg of the cable network is expected to start carrying commercial traffic by first quarter of 2002.


    The i2i cable network will have the world's largest bandwidth capacity, a total of 8.4 Terabits per second when completed. In Singapore, it will link to SingTel's extensive cable network infrastructure to the rest of the world. This includes the C2C cable network, SEA-ME-WE 3 and APCN 2.


    According to Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Group Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises: "With the launch of the company and the commencement of this landing station, we are now closer to bridging the technology gap between India and the rest of the world. India will now be able to fulfill the demand for enhanced bandwidth to and from the sub-continent. Our Chennai-Singapore - Mumbai fibre ring will play a key role in providing India with a world-class facility. The i2i cable network will form the backbone of a state-of-the-art network that will support a world-class national carrier and Bharti's Domestic Long Distance Service."


    "The formation of Network i2i is further confirmation of the close ties between SingTel and Bharti," said Mr Hoh Wing Chee, SingTel's Vice President (International Network) and Board Director of Network i2i Limited. "The commencement of work on the Chennai cable station is a major achievement and a crystallization of our efforts to develop a significant undersea link between Singapore and India."


    Mr Hoh added: "The i2i cable network expands SingTel's international infrastructure and further enhances its position in the region as a leading communications player. It also strengthens our commitment to our partner, Bharti, to build a strong telecom infrastructure in India."


    The phase of the cable development process to link Mumbai and Chennai via land, has already been half-completed by Bharti Telesonic. The last phase of the project, which will link Singapore and Mumbai is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2002.


    Bharti seeks to achieve its key objective of creating and building a world-class telecom and information technology infrastructure in India through projects such as the i2i cable network. This includes fulfilling the needs of various customer segments - business and residential alike - through high-quality broadband services. Bharti BT Internet will be providing the bandwidth on the domestic backbone, while Bharti Telesonic will be responsible for sub-letting bandwidth to carriers.


    About Network i2i Limited


    Network i2i is a private cable development company co-owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), Asia's leading communications company; and the Bharti Group, India's leading telecom conglomerate. Network i2i will build the world's largest cable network in terms of bandwidth capacity, with a total bandwidth of 8.4 Terabits per second, linking Singapore, Chennai and Mumbai.


    The entire i2i cable network utilizes the latest Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to provide transmission facilities, which can be upgraded, to ensure durability. It will have a self-healing, completely redundant ring configuration for greater network resilience and route diversity.


    About SingTel


    SingTel is Asia's leading communications company with a comprehensive portfolio of services that include voice and data services over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms. Serving both the corporate and residential markets, SingTel is committed to bringing the best of global communications to its customers in the Asia Pacific and beyond. It has built the infrastructure that has helped transform Singapore into a global hub and is today the country's largest company in terms of market capitalisation (about US$23billion).


    The SingTel Group is expanding rapidly into overseas markets, with current investments of more than S$5 billion (US$2.9 billion) in about 100 joint ventures and associated companies in over 20 countries and territories. Its major investments include Belgacom of Belgium, Advanced Info Service of Thailand, New Century Infocomm of Taiwan, the Bharti Telecom Group of India and Globe Telecom of the Philippines. With a heritage of over 120 years, SingTel aims to be the Asian partner of choice for telecommunications operators across the world. More information can be found @ www.singtel.com .


    About Bharti


     Bharti, India's leading telecom conglomerate, has been at the forefront of technology and has revolutionised telecommunications with its world-class products and services. Established in 1976, Bharti has been a pioneering force in the telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti has many joint ventures with telecom leaders like SingTel, Singapore; British Telecom, UK; E.M.Warburg Pincus, USA; Intel, USA; Telia, Sweden and New York Life International, USA.


     Bharti has many firsts to its credit, ranging from being the first cellular service in Delhi, first private basic telephone service provider in the country, first Indian company to provide comprehensive telecom services outside India (Seychelles), fastest growing VSAT company in India, and first multinational Internet Service Provider. AirTel, the premier cellular service from Bharti in Delhi, Himachal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, has defined the cellular business through continuous marketing and technological innovations, consistently setting the benchmark for the Indian cellular industry. AirTel has the unique distinction of having been named India's best cellular service for four years in a row by receiving the Techies '97, Techies '98, Techies '99 and Techies 2000. Today, Bharti is India's largest telecom services company in the private sector.


     Mantra Online, under which Bharti-BT provides Internet services, is the first multi-national Internet service provider in the country. Bharti Telenet created history with the launch of the first private sector fixed line service in the state of Madhya Pradesh, which is today India's largest private basic telephone service. Bharti-BT VSAT is the fastest growing VSAT company in India, expanding the market through innovation and service leadership.


    Bharti also plans to add long distance telephony and broadband services to its existing telecommunications portfolio in addition to extending its mobile and fixed line services to new markets within India.


    Bharti also manufactures and exports telephone terminals and cordless phones. Apart from being the largest manufacturer of telephone instruments, it is also the first company to export its products to the USA.


     Bharti is today recognized as a true infrastructure builder of the nation. Amongst it's series of rewards & recognitions, Bharti was recently awarded the first National Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) award for "Excellence in Infrastructure - 2000".