Telecom Lead India: Reliance Globalcom, the underseas
cable unit of Reliance Communications, has signed an agreement with Iraqi
The joint venture is expected to expand the country’s
broadband and telecommunications links to the outside world.
The activation of Al-Faw Cable Landing Station, in a
project with Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC) will connect Iraq
to countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America.
Reliance Globalcom owns the world’s largest private
undersea cable system spanning 65,000 kilometers. The station with a design
capacity of 680 Gbps with two diverse routes will initially use 50 Gbps on each
route to cater to existing market demand.
The two diverse routes were connected to the Falcon
undersea fiber-optic cable network owned by Reliance Globalcom.
“This will help connect Iraq to the rest of the
world through our global networks. The Middle East is one of the
fastest-growing regions in the world,” said Rory Cole, COO of Reliance
The project is the first cable network to land in Iraq, a
country of 30 million people. Less than 3 percent of the country’s population
is currently connected to the Internet.
Poor infrastructure, high operating costs, conflicts between
communications regulators and security problems are seen stunting development
there. Iraq could be an important communications bridge joining the Middle East
with Europe and Asia, Reuters reported.
“This is an extremely important strategic initiative
that will facilitate the connectivity of all countries in the Middle East
region to Iraq and also significantly improve the quality and speed as well as
the reliability of Iraq’s connectivity to the rest of the world,” said
Iraq’s Minister of Communications Mohammed Allawi.
Reliance Communications acquired the FLAG undersea cable
network for $207 million in 2003, and the business is now part of its Reliance
Globalcom unit. It sells capacity on the network to many of the world’s major
Demand for bandwidth is soaring in the Middle East,
driven by the deregulation of regional telecoms markets as well as a desire by
governments to diversify from oil and gas into sectors such as finance and
media that require fast international connections.