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Rediff.com  » Business » Flag to invest $300 million in sea cable

Flag to invest $300 million in sea cable

February 18, 2004 12:24 IST

Flag Telecom on Tuesday announced its first major project after being taken over by Reliance Infocomm last month.

It is setting up a high-capacity broadband link connecting Egypt to Hong Kong through an undersea cable, a part of which will cross India over land and integrate Reliance Infocomm's 80,000 km domestic network seamlessly.

The project, called Falcon, will also have multiple landings throughout the Persian Gulf. Customers will have access to all major cities along the network, which is expected to be running in 12 months.

The $300 million project will be funded by Flag, Reliance and other participating operators.

"Falcon will dramatically change the global communications infrastructure. We have realised that the exploding demand from growing economies cannot be served by the bandwidth connectivity serving Middle East and Asia today," Flag Telecom CEO Patrick Gallagher said in a media release.

"Falcon will also provide Flag's customers access to all major cities across India from any city connected to the network," the release said.

Gallagher said the project followed months of development work, and the company was now in the final stages of negotiations with short-listed suppliers.

The initial engineering work had been completed and preparations for the marine survey were under way, he added.

"Today's announcement provides the backbone for delivering advanced broadband services to Middle East and India, which lacked high-capacity broadband connectivity," Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said.

The countries that have the potential to directly access this network include Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar and Iraq.

All of these had expressed interest in joining Falcon and most were in advanced discussions with Flag Telecom for participation, the release said.

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Data Access have already announced mega undersea cable networks. While the VSNL project, linking Chennai and Singapore, will cost $125 million, the Data Access network will link Mumbai and the port of Fujairah in the UAE at $100 million.
BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai