Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle East’s first privately owned submarine cable operator, is very pleased to announce that Batelco, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s leading communications provider will provide a landing station for the new sub-sea cable being installed by Gulf Bridge InternationalThe GBI Cable System, which will utilize the latest subsea fiber cable technology, will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other and provide onward connectivity to Europe and Asia. The launch of the GBI Cable System will see Telecom operators and other communications companies, both in the region and globally, benefit from greater choice, value, diversity and resilience.Batelco Chief Executive Bahrain Gert Rieder said that Batelco is thrilled to sign this agreement with GBI. This will significantly enhance Batelco’s resilience and diversity in providing world-class connectivity for residents of Bahrain with world-wide destinations.Mr. Hamad Al Mannai, GBI’s Executive Vice Chairman commented “It is with great pleasure we announce today the landing of the GBI cable system in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Kingdom has been one of the most liberalized Telecom markets in the region and we are glad to conclude this agreement with Batelco and for us to be a partner in the advancement of the overall ICT sector in the Bahrain.” “This agreement will not only benefit the Kingdom of Bahrain but all the countries in the region” said Mr. Ahmed Mekky, GBI’s CEO. “We believe that increased choice, capacity and competition for international bandwidth are essential for sustained growth in the region. The agreement with Batelco, brings GBI one step closer to delivering all three. I am confident that GBI will change the telecoms landscape in the Middle East and play a positive role in facilitating future economic growth” Batelco has previously invested in 3 international cable systems FLAG, SEA-ME-WE 3 and SEA-ME-WE 4 and a satellite earth station to provide international voice, data and internet services to its customers across the Kingdom. Batelco has also invested in three diverse paths (SFO, FALCON and FOG) to access such international connectivity. Such network resilience and diversity is considered ‘best practice’ in the telecommunications industry globally and has served Bahrain well in the past minimising disruption to telecommunications services over the years. “Such investment forms part of Batelco’s $1.4 billion outlay toward building the Kingdom of Bahrain’s communications infrastructure. The Company’s ongoing strategy is to continue investing in new infrastructure and innovative technology for Bahrain and ensure the Kingdom remains the most desirable IT and Communications hub across the region,” concluded Mr. Rieder.Scheduled to launch in 2011 and designed to operate for up to 25 years, the GBI Cable System will connect all the Gulf countries via a core ring, which can re-route traffic thereby increasing resilience. With a design capacity of up to 5 terabits per second on certain cable sections, the GBI Cable System will have the capability to meet the rapid growth in demand that has been forecast for traffic originating and terminating in Gulf.