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March 24, 1999
VSNL commissions 40,000 km submarine network
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited's 40,000 km South-East Asia-West Asia-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE) submarine network was commissioned on Thursday night, making Kochi in Kerala the second largest VSNL gateway after Mumbai.
Described as a high-tech telecom backbone, the link, with a 5 GBPS bandwidth, would make telephone communication and transfer of electronic files faster and reliable to more than 30 countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, the Gulf, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and the United States. The capacity is expandable to 10 GBPS.
The entire southern hemisphere telecom route would come under the network when VSNL takes up the 28,000 km South Africa and Far East (SAFE) countries link. A memorandum of understanding for executing this project has already been signed and it is expected to be taken up soon.
SAFE will be integrated with South Africa Telephony Cable 4 (SAT3) and West Africa Submarine Cable (WASC) to form SAT-WASC-Safe integration. This would ensure indirect connection to North America, South America, Europe, West Asia and the Asia Pacific.
SAFE link's initial capacity will be 2.5 GBPS. There is a provision to expand this up to 20 GBPS in time. SAFE will be integrated with the existing network to bring various destinations en route under its coverage. VSNL has already completed the initial survey of the SAFE countries link.
The system would be a big boon to software companies which finds the existing satellite channels clogged frequently. Thiruvananthapuram Technopark Chief Executive Officer G Sateesh Kumar told rediff.com that better quality and reliability of transmission that the network offers would boost IT-enabled and e-commerce applications. A delay is critical for credit card validation and real time applications. The new cable network needs only 30 milli-seconds for transmission, while the satellite takes 250 milli-seconds, Sateesh said.
The new network would also be a boon to non-resident Indians as it would make telephone communication easier. Conversations from overseas destination to areas under the new network would appear as if they were telephone calls being made from the neighborhood.
Overseas telecom traffic would be routed through the optical fibre exchange at Kochi.
The landing point for the submarine cable system is Fort Cochin, from where it is connected to the terminal equipment building at Kakkanad through cables of equal bandwidth.
The services under the new network would be available to users before April. The network caters to other South Indian states besides Kerala. The network would also offer easy Internet access. VSNL has already installed facility for providing direct Internet access from Kochi. Two options available to users would be a lease line facility and international private leased circuit.
The equipment can give connections to 60 individual firms. Each of these firms can act as a separate establishment and can lend connection to many other users.
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