Etisalat, Iraq Telecom and STC come together for FOG2 submarine cable
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (ETISALAT) Iraqi Telecommunications & Post Company (ITPC) and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) have commenced the groundwork to lay a submarine cable connecting UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq by signing the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA). This follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the three telecom operators in June 2005. FOG2 is the second generation of the Fibre-Optic Gulf (FOG) cables and upon this terabit capacity system, initially equipped with 80 Gbps capacity over two fibre-pairs, will enable its participants to meet their growing requirements for internet, data, voice and other broadband applications via its connectivity to the Gulf as well as the rest of the world. This is the first ever fibre-optic submarine cable landing in Iraq.
“The cable will initially link Fujeirah - UAE, Eastern coast - Saudi Arabia and Um-Qasr (Al Basra Province) Iraq with a length of approximately 1500 kms, and with extensions to potential new participants from other Gulf countries, the total length could be approximately 2200 kms.” The project for construction is currently being tendered and it is expected that the system will become operational by the end of 2006.
Mohammad Hassan Omran, Chairman and CEO, Etisalat, said: “We are extremely pleased to be a key participant of this cable system, and we are sure that Iraq and all other countries will benefit from this link. This submarine cable provides for high-capacity international telecommunications options using fibre-optics, enabling Iraq to be connected internationally efficiently and effectively.”
Mr. Khalid Al Molhem of STC, commented, “FOG2 is viewed as a strategic complement to STC’s stake in the newly constructed SEA-ME-WE 4 cable system with its full landing at Jeddah. With the new landing station in the Kingdom’s Eastern coast, FOG2 will not only provide STC with additional connectivity to its neighbouring countries, but will also offer important diversity for STC’s significant international bandwidth requirements in the coming years.” Mr. Molhem added, “I believe that similar to SEA-ME-WE 4, the traditional consortium approach taken for FOG2 is very effective and in fact will be more attractive and superior for consumers of bandwidth when compared with any other alternative.” Mr. Molhem concluded by warmly welcoming Iraq as a key participant in this important project.
Khazzal Hasan Mahdi, Director General of ITPC said “We are pleased to be part of the team laying a new cable in the gulf, which will bring with it international connectivity to Iraq, and aid in modernizing the Iraqi network and make sure Iraq has fast, cheaper and more efficient system than what is available today.”
Etisalat and STC have also partnered in the recently-commissioned international high-capacity SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable that connects France to Singapore and links scores of nations en route. With SEA-ME-WE 4 and this natural extension via FOG2, customers in the Middle East and particularly the Gulf region will begin to truly enjoy the benefits of high-capacity International access via consortium based state-of-art submarine cable systems.