India's Bharti, partners to lay India-France cable

India's top mobile operator, Bharti Airtel would build an undersea cable between India and France in partnership with eight telecoms firms to meet growing demand for data transfer, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the network, to be called I-ME-WE, will cover 14,000 km and connect India and western Europe via the Middle East, Bharti said in a statement, adding it would be ready by late 2009.

Financial terms were not disclosed, the report added.

Other partners in the project include India's Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, UAE's Etisalat , Saudi Telecom , France Telecom , Lebanon's Ogero, Pakistan Telecommunication, Telecom Egypt and Italy's TIS Sparkle, Bharti said.

Bharti owns the i2i cable system, which connects India with Singapore and is one of the consortium partners in the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable system that connects India with Europe.