India’s Bharti joins 700-million-dollar cable project linking Britain

BANGALORE, India, May 7, 2008 (AFP) – Bharti Airtel, India’s top mobile-phone operator, said Wednesday it had joined a consortium to build a 700-million-dollar submarine cable system. Bharti signed a construction and maintenance agreement in London for the Europe India Gateway (EIG), the first high-bandwidth, optical-fibre cable system from India to Britain, the company said.

Fifteen other firms are taking part in the 15,000-kilometre (9,000-mile) project linking 13 countries across three continents that will start carrying commercial traffic by the second quarter of 2010, it said in a statement.

Among the firms are AT&T, BT, C&W, Djibouti Telecom, Gibtelecom, Libyan Telecom, MTN Group, Omantel, Saudi Telecom Company, Telecom Egypt, Telkom SA and Verizon Business.

The EIG consortium has signed construction and supply agreements with Alcatel-Lucent and Tyco Telecommunications, the statement said.

Bharti will be operating the Mumbai landing station for the cable system that will support Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice transmission.

The project will help meet a “tremendous rise in use of data and broadband applications among enterprises and consumers”