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Tue 17 Feb 2004 04:00 AM

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Flag plans high-speed link between Egypt and Hong Kong

Global bandwidth provider, Flag Telecom, is planning to launch a new 15,000km submarine cable loop stretching from Egypt to Hong Kong.

Global bandwidth provider, Flag Telecom, is planning to launch a new 15,000km submarine cable loop stretching from Egypt to Hong Kong.

Expected to cost over US$300m and be in service early next year, the ‘Falcon’ network will provide multiple landing points in the Gulf region in a bid to satisfy regional demand for international bandwidth.

The move is also aimed at providing Flag’s customers will high capacity connectivity in and out of India, following the group’s purchase by Indian telecoms provider, Reliance Infocomm, in January.

Reliance Infocomm will provide landing points for the network on the east and west coast of the country and connect it with its 80,000 km high-speed domestic infrastructure, allowing customers to access major cities connected along the network.

“We have recognised for some time that the exploding market demand from major growth economies could not be served by the bandwidth connectivity serving the Middle East and Asia today,” says Patrick Gallagher, CEO, Flag Telecom.

“Our announcement today follows months of project development work and we are now in final negotiations with a shortlist of suppliers. All initial engineering work has been completed and preparations for the marine survey are well under way. With a forecast initial service date of within 12 months, this is an extremely challenging project, but we believe it is essential to support the growth economies of the Middle East, India and China,” he adds.

The provider says that the 15,000 km terabit/s submarine system will stretch from Egypt to Hong Kong, and include the Gulf region’s first self-healing submarine network.

According to Flag, expressions of interest have been received in joining the project from countries including Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar and Iraq.

The provider adds that it can add branching units along the cable route to allow more countries in the region to connect to the system as their communications needs expand.

The western link of the system is intended to land at Telecom Egypt’s landing station at Suez, where the cable will integrate with Flag’s global network.

Falcon will then follow a route through the Red Sea along the East African coast and across the top of the Arabian Sea before landing in Oman.

It will then cross the Arabian Sea to a new Reliance-owned landing station at Mumbai, India, where it will interconnect with the provider’s domestic network.

From the East coast of India, it will then travel to Hong Kong and integrate again with Flag’s global infrastructure.

The project will be funded by Flag, Reliance and participating operators, according to the provider.

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