Bharti teams up for Asia-US cable

Written by Corporate Bureau | New Delhi, Feb 26 | Updated: Feb 27 2008, 05:55am hrs
The country's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, along with five international companies, will build a high-bandwidth undersea fibre-optic cable linking Asia to the United States. The cost of constructing the new cable system, Unity, is estimated at $300 million. The project is expected to increase the capacity for managing the massive growth in data and Internet traffic between Asia and the US.

Other partners in the project are Global Transit Ltd (Malaysia), Google (US), KDDI Corporation (Japan), Pacnet (Singapore) and SingTel (Singapore). Construction of the project will begin immediately, with initial capacity targeted to be available in the first quarter of 2010. NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications will construct and install the system.

The Unity cable system will provide connectivity between Chikura, located off the coast near Tokyo, to Los Angeles and other West Coast network points of presence. At Chikura, Unity will be seamlessly connected to other cable systems, further enhancing connectivity into Asia. The cable system will initially increase trans-Pacific lit cable capacity by about 20%, with the potential to add up to 7.68 terabits per second (Tb/s) of bandwidth across the Pacific.

David Nishball, president, Airtel Enterprise Services, said, This investment is in line with our strategy to extend our international footprint across the globe. The Unity cable system will address the demand for increased bandwidth between Asia and US as more and more services migrate to an online environment. This partnership will also provide alternative routes to meet the demands of our customers for increased levels of network resilience and redundancy.

The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Singapore and Europe. The company has partnered the Asia-America Gateway cable system to provide the diversity against traditional routes to the US, mainly carrying broadband traffic.