Jio and Bharti make major undersea cable announcements

Jio and Bharti make major undersea cable announcements

Rival Indian service providers Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have made major announcements relating to their undersea cable interests.

Reliance Jio has announced plans to land the multi-terabit India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system in Maldives (pictured), on a reclaimed island called Hulhumale, in collaboration with the Maldives Fund Management Corporation subsidiary Ocean Connect Maldives.

According to India’s Economic Times news service, the IAX system, which starts out in Mumbai in western India, will connect Hulhumale directly with major internet hubs in India and Singapore. Branches include additional landings in India, Malaysia, and Thailand.

IAX is expected to be ready for service by the end of 2023. Another service, the India Europe-Xpress (IEX) system, which connects Mumbai to Milan, landing in Savona, Italy, and includes additional landings in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean, will be ready for service in mid-2024, according to a statement from Jio. Jio is constructing both systems in association with several global partners and submarine cable supplier Subcom.

These high capacity and high-speed systems will provide more than 200Tbps of capacity at speeds of 100Gbps, over 16,000 kilometres. 

Not to be outdone, rival operator Bharti Airtel has also had some big cable news this week. It has said it is participating as a major investor in the SEA-ME-WE-6 undersea cable consortium and is anchoring 20% of the overall investment in the cable system, which will go live in 2025.

Bharti has reportedly acquired one fibre pair on the main SEA-ME-WE-6 system and will co-build four fibre pairs on the Singapore — Chennai — Mumbai route as part of the cable system, which will land at Airtel’s new landing stations in Mumbai and Chennai. The Indian giant will reportedly thereby add 100TBps capacity to its global network. 

SEA-ME-WE-6 will be fully integrated with the large data centres in Mumbai and Chennai designed and operated by subsidiary Nxtra by Airtel.

In fact the SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium announced on Monday that construction has commenced on the 19,200 km-long submarine cable system connecting multiple countries between Singapore and France. It will have more fibre pairs and more than double the capacity of previous SEA-ME-WE cables. 

The SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium includes Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (India) Dhiraagu (Maldives), Djibouti Telecom, Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Orange (France), Singtel (Singapore), Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia, Telin (Indonesia), and Trans World Associates (Pakistan).

The system is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025. 

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