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Undersea cable systems: Airtel joins SEA-ME-WE-6 consortium; Jio’s IAX project to land in Maldives

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Reliance Jio's undersea cable system to connect Maldives directly to India, SingaporeOn 21st February 2022 Bharti Airtel has announced its integration in ‘SEA-ME-WE-6 undersea cable consortium’, as a major investor while Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will introduce its next generation multi-terabit India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system in Hulhumale, Maldives  in collaboration with Ocean Connect Maldives.

  • Another subsea cable system India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) is also built by RJIL that connects Mumbai and Milan.

About Bharti Airtel Integration:

Bharti Airtel has announced its participation in ‘SEA-ME-WE-6’ undersea cable consortium as a ‘major investor’ to scale up its high-speed global network capacity and its overall investment in the cable system will be around 20 percent that will go live in 2025.

  • Uses of undersea cable systems – Undersea cable systems along with data centres supports 5G and the digital economy that builds large integrated capacities to enable India’s digital ecosystem.
  • Other Members of consortium – The 12 other consortium members includes Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Dhiraagu (Maldives), Djibouti Telecom, Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Orange (France), Singtel (Singapore), Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia and Telin (Indonesia).

About SEA-ME-WE-6:

i.SEA-ME-WE-6 will connect 19,200 route kilometres (Rkm) from Singapore to France which will be the largest undersea cable system globally through which Airtel could increase its capacity to 100 TeraBytes per second (TBps) to its global network.

ii.Airtel will land the SEA-ME-WE-6 cable system in Mumbai and Chennai with 1 Fibre Pair on the main SEA-ME-WE-6 system and will co-build 4 Fibre Pairs between Singapore – Chennai – Mumbai as part of the cable system. 

iii.SEA-ME-WE-6 will be integrated with Nxtra by Airtel’s large data centres in Mumbai and Chennai for accessing integrated solutions in businesses and strengthening India’s emerging data centre hub.

  • Nxtra is the data centre unit of Airtel that operates the largest network of data centres in India with 11 large and 120 edge data centres.

About RJIL undersea cable system:

RJIL will introduce its next generation multi-terabit India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) undersea cable system in Hulhumale, Maldives  in collaboration with Ocean Connect Maldives.

Aim – To diversify the economy and establish it as a key communications hub in South Asia.

About IAX & IEX System:

i.The IAX system is featured with a high-speed and high capacity IAX system that originates in Mumbai and connects directly to Singapore, with branches and additional landings in India, Malaysia and Thailand.

  • It will connect Hulhumale’ directly with World’s major internet hubs in India and Singapore.

ii.The India-Europe-Xpress (IEX), will connect Mumbai to Milan, landing in Savona, Italy, with additional landings in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.

  • The IAX system will be ready for service by the end of 2023,  while IEX will be ready for service in mid-2024

iii.Both IAX and IEX can provide more than 200 Terabytes/second capacity of subsea cable systems at 100 Gigabytes/second speed over 16,000 kilometres.

iv.This launch becomes the 1st  international cable towards increasing connectivity infrastructure and opening vast opportunities through affordable and high-quality services.

Note – Jio Platforms, an arm of RIL, had collaborated with SES, a global satellite-based content connectivity solutions provider, to form a joint venture named Jio Space Technology  to deliver the next generation scalable and affordable broadband services in India with satellite technology.

Recent related news:

In January 2022, Reliance Jio became the 1st telecom company to launch a UPI autopay facility for both prepaid and postpaid subscribers in collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

 About Bharti Airtel:

Headquarters – New Delhi, Delhi
MD & CEO (India & South Asia) – Gopal Vittal