Muscat: Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) yesterday said the company has joined hands with 16 prominent service providers across the world for setting up a high-capacity submarine telecommunication cable system, which will enable fast transmission of data across different continents.
A construction and maintenance agreement was signed by the Omani firm in Hong Kong for the high-capacity cabling system called the Asia Africa Europe – 1 (AAE-1) – to officially mark the commencement of this massive infrastructure project.
Spanning 25,000 kilometres, the submarine cable is one of the first unique cable system to connect Hong Kong to Singapore, Africa and Europe via Oman and provide an alternative and low latency short route between Hong Kong/Singapore and Europe.
Omantel's extensive international network will provide additional protection and diversity to the AAE-1 cable system through other systems like EPEG, which is a recently launched major high-capacity system consisting of redundant undersea cables to Iran and onwards terrestrial cable all the way via Azerbaijan and Russia to Frankfurt avoiding existing heavily congested cable systems and crowded bottlenecks on the route between Asia and Europe.
AAE-1 will employ 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) technology with wavelength add/drop branching units along the route with a designed capacity of more than 40 terabits. One of the unique features of the submarine system is that it ends in Singapore but continues further into Asia through terrestrial routes via Thailand connecting Cambodia, Vietnam and then Hong Kong. Additionally, having two diversified point of presence (PoP) in Asia (Hong Kong and Singapore), the landing at Omantel's Middle East hub and three onward connectivity options to Europe will provide the requisite flexibility for the participating carriers and its customers.
"Asia Africa Europe-1 is one of the largest cable systems ever launched and will stipulate an exponential business growth in participating countries by providing robust, reliable and low latency connectivity. Omantel is very proud to be part of this exciting project," said Omantel's chief executive officer Dr Amer Al Rawas.
"Until now, this region has been fed by sea-based systems that have not been able to offer adequate diverse connectivity. The consequence has been extensive outages throughout the region resulting in degraded quality on Internet services for corporate and consumer customers; Asia Africa Europe-1 is a strategic investment not only for Omantel, but for Oman as a country and the region as a whole," Dr Al Rawas further added.
"Our extensive international network and Oman's geographical advantage being the entry into the Middle East has made Omantel a natural hub as key interconnection point for carriers from Asia and Europe," Omantel's chief executive officer said.
The target completion date for the AAE-1 cable is in 2016. Once completed, it will connect countries such as Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan & Oman in Asia, Djibouti and Egypt in Africa, Greece, Italy and France in Europe.