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Britain-India undersea cable system to be launched in 2010

London, May 10 (IANS) Bharti Airtel and 15 other leaders of the global telecommunications industry have signed a deal to build the first direct, high-bandwidth optical-fibre undersea cable system from Britain to India.

The 700 million-pound Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system is expected to "significantly enhance capacity and diversity" between the countries of three continents, the EIG consortium said.

Sixteen telecommunications companies are investing in the project: AT&T, Bharti Airtel, BT, Cable & Wireless, Djibouti Telecom, Du, Gibtelecom, IAM, Libyan Post, Telecom and Information Technology Company, MTN Group Ltd, Omantel, PT Comunicacoes S.A., Saudi Telecom Company, Telecom Egypt, Telkom SA Ltd and Verizon Business.

The 15,000-km cable system, targeted to be operational in the second quarter of 2010, will connect Asia, Africa and Europe.

Thirteen landings are planned along the cable's route: Britain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates and India.

In addition to serving these countries, the EIG cable system will also provide seamless interconnection with other major cable systems connecting Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.

The system will utilise state-of-the-art next-generation technology designed to provide up to 3.84 terabits per second (Tbps) upgradeable transmission facilities that will support Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice services.

In addition to complementing existing high-bandwidth cable systems in the region, the EIG cable will provide much-needed diversity for broadband traffic currently relying largely on traditional routes from Europe to India.

"This is important, considering the threat of earthquakes in this region," the consortium said after the signing of a construction and maintenance agreement Tuesday.

The EIG cable system, with its large bandwidth and high-quality transmission technology, will also help meet the present and future growth in telecommunications traffic between the targeted regions.

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