First Consortium to Build Terrestrial Terabit Cable System to Bridge East and West

Published July 18th, 2010 - 05:45 GMT

Six of the region's leading operators have signed a Construction and Maintenance Agreement to build the RCN (Regional Cable Network) – a multi-terabit cable system stretching from the UAE through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria into Europe. RCN will provide robust bandwidth connectivity for the region's growing broadband community. It will also provide greater diversity for each of the operators and protect their service from disruption from damage to undersea cable systems.

Etisalat (UAE), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Jordan Telecom (Jordan), Zain - Mada coalition (Jordan) and Syrian Telecom (Syria) together with other European partners have joined forces to build the mammoth 4,000 km diversified cable system which will provide reliable telecommunication and Internet connectivity for all users in those countries and the surrounding nations. The announcement was made at a signing ceremony held at the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Mohamed Omran, Chairman of Etisalat said: "RCN is an important development in the history of the Internet in the Middle East. It is the first terabit, terrestrial cable that connects Europe with the region and will provide extra capacity to help fulfil the expected future need which will be fuelled by broadband growth, multimedia applications and video. We are keen to support this initiative which will no doubt cater for the future needs of the telecom sector."

Ali Amiri, Executive Vice President Carrier and Wholesale at Etisalat said: "Etisalat has invested in many different international cable systems in the past to ensure that its connectivity is both sufficient and reliable. With the RCN, in addition to being a high terabit cable system in two dedicated and diversified routes which will cater for the substantial growth expected in broadband subscribers in the UAE, we have yet another option to help maintain service should other cable routes be damaged."

"Our participation in the regional cable network comes as part of our strategy of connecting all of Saudi Arabia to the information super highway to excel in broadband, and ensure we have multiple routes available for data communication traffic originating from inside the Kingdom or transiting from the networks of other operators," said Khalid Al Kaf, Mobily's CEO.

"The regional cable network runs terrestrially uninterrupted from Fujaira in the United Arab Emirates, passing through our Saudi National Fibre optic Network in the Kingdom, then through Jordan and Syria, and finally reaching Turkey and Europe, providing a reliable and trusted data communication cable with terabits of bandwidth available for the decades to come," said Abdulaziz Altamami, Mobily's COO.

From her side, Jordan Telecom Group Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Nayla Khawam stressed on the importance of this partnership between all participating countries and companies, pointing out that this project will have numerous positive social, economic and technological impacts on all participants. She also cited that this project will contribute largely to the sustainable development and raise the level of service continuity between the East and West

The VP Jordan Telecom Wholesale Business Unit Mr. Waleed Doulat noted that this terabit terrestrial fiber optics cable will ensure continuous and reliable connectivity between the east and the west. RCN has the advantage of a new and a diversified route from the existing submarine cables passing through the same corridor in the Mediterranean Sea. RCN is designed to carry huge data traffic thus fulfilling the growing demand for intercontinental data and IP services in the region

On his part, Zain Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber said: "The agreement is yet another manifestation of Zain's commitment towards providing its customers with the best, reliable services and technologies alongside developing both the local and regional telecommunications infrastructure and it enhances the regional role which Zain plays in this sector as one of the leading telecommunications companies in the region". He added that this new agreement is also in line with the company's efforts to help boost internet penetration levels in Jordan and supports our belief in the investment in content development as the new way forward and the importance of this agreement in preparing for this next step.

"This new initiative, to link internet subscribers in our region with Europe via a high capacity cable, is a natural step for Mada Jordan to take. Mada Jordan has been a leader in introducing latest Information Technologies in the Hashemite Kingdom," Charles Al Hage, Chief Executive Officer of Mada Jordan said. "The cable connection with neighbouring countries and Europe will further empower our clients with a better, faster and a more reliable venue for the exchange of knowledge and wider accessibility to their products".

Mr. Nazem Bahsas Director General at Syrian Telecom said: "Based on the recent and pressing demand for increased telecom capacity as well as initial forecasts, and due to unique geographical position of the parties in the Middle East, the six leading operators have signed an agreement to build up vital project (RCN). This new Regional Cable Network (RCN) will provide greater diversity and fulfill future requirements by wide broadband applications that will cater for future needs (IP, multimedia and video). Accordingly all users in the region will be secured with reliable and trustworthy data telecom sector. Additionally, the new cable system forms the main link that will connect East with the West for a better telecommunication future and the mutual benefit." 

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