Seven telecom operators from five countries collaborate on Regional Cable Network (“RCN”) Project

Published December 22nd, 2010 - 09:58 GMT

Seven operators, including Etisalat (UAE), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Jordan Telecom, Mada and Zain (Jordan), Syria Telecom (Syria) and Superonline, a Turkcell Group company, from Turkey have announced that they are building the Middle East's longest fully-redundant terrestrial communications infrastructure along a 7,750 kilometer round trip route. The RCN project will extend from the city of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to Istanbul in Turkey and then to Europe and will serve as a gateway to the Internet for 2 billion people.

The RCN project was signed by the seven telecom operators during a ceremony held in Ankara. The event was attended by the Minister of Transport and Communications Binali Yıldırım, RCN Project Interim Consortium Chairman and Executive Vice President of Carrier Wholesale at Etisalat Ali Amiri, the CEO's of the founder members of the Consortium: including Turkcell CEO Süreyya Ciliv, Mobily COO Mr. Abdulaziz Altamami, Jordan Telecom Group CEO Mrs. Nayla Khawam, Mada Group Managing Director Charles Hage , Syrian Telecommunications Establishment Director General Nazem Bahsas and Superonline CEO Murat Erkan.

Starting from Fujairah (United Arab Emirates) and passing through Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Amman (Jordan), Tartous (Syria) and reaching Istanbul (Turkey), the RCN project's fibre optic cable line will cover the entire Gulf region in the Middle East for the first time through a uniform infrastructure. 3,875 km in radial length and totaling 7,750 km with its round trip routes, the RCN project will become the region's longest fully-redundant terrestrial fiber infrastructure between Fujairah, one of the busiest nodes for submarine and fibre cables, and the West.

Addressing the ceremonial assembly, Consortium Chairman and Executive Vice President Carrier & Wholesale at Etisalat, Ali Amiri described the RCN as being unmatched in terms of speed, quality, ease of upgrade, redundancy, and reliability. Recalling that the dual fibre lines would cross five countries and intersect in five cities, Amiri stated that this infrastructure has the ability to provide the tremendous capacity of 12.8 terabits per second. "The demand for intercontinental connectivity continues to grow at a remarkable rate. The region's governments are encouraging investment in new technologies to bolster the performance of their national economies. Operators are deploying Next- Generation Networks for both fixed-line and wireless environments which in turn allow an increasing volume of services to be provided to ever more consumers. These factors as well as the growing technical literacy of the local population and availability of rich local content are all driving the demand for ever more capacity. Etisalat is delighted to partner with six of the region's leading operators in a project which will enhance the lives and increase the reach of over two billion people," Amiri said.

Designed to stretch from Fujairah to Istanbul and offer connectivity to Europe through more than 15 access points readily available on the Bulgarian and Greek borders of Turkey, RCN infrastructure boasts a data carrying capacity of 12.8 Terabit per second. Initially 2.4 Terabit per second of capacity will be activated along the two different routes. In contrast to similar systems, all the operators taking part in RCN, will dedicate fibre on both routes exclusively to RCN, paving the way to immediately upgrade or re-route the entire path when needed.

The RCN project brings together top telecom companies from five countries. Each a leader in communication technology in their respective countries, Etisalat (UAE), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Jordan Telecom/Orange Jordan and Mada-Zain Partnership (Jordan), Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (Syria), and Superonline (Turkey) have signed their names to the Project. With an approximate investment value of half a billion dollars, the fibre optic line will be operational in the second quarter of 2011.

With the potential to directly serve the largest population in the Middle East region, the RCN project will ensure more reliable, redundant and faster Internet connectivity for roughly 2 billion people with its diversified route. Envisaged to satisfy the Internet demand in the countries involved and to become the preferred route for transit traffic across all the countries it passes through, this Project will increase speeds throughout the region. 

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