Indian carrier begins $400m submarine cable project

Flag Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Communications, has started a $400-million submarine cable project connecting India to key foreign markets, a report from the Times of India said.

The report, quoting Flag Telecom, said project "Falcon" would connect India with countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, Yemen, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Officials said the idea behind connecting Middle East was to tap into the rapid growth of trade, tourism and communications in the region, according to the report.

Reliance also said several nations in the area were expected to de-monopolize their respective telecom sectors and that Reliance could cash in on having an early presence.

India's international bandwidth capacity is largely dominated by Tata-owned VSNL and Bharti Airtel.

Most of India's international capacity was skewed towards the Eastern side in Singapore and from there on to the US west coast, the report said.

As India's IT sector looked more towards Europe and other parts of the world, bandwidth capacities being added by cable systems like Falcon would come in handy and could lower costs, the report said.

The Falcon cable would cover a nearly 12,000km route and have a capacity of 2.56Tbps that would carry ever increasing traffic within Middle East, connecting it to Europe and eventually to the US, the report further said.