Tata Comms realizes 'round the world' cable vision

Company launches TGN-Gulf cable system linking Middle Eastern states such as United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to India, marking completion of US$800 million global fiber optic cable system, CEO reveals.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

DUBAI--Tata Communications has completed its vision to build a "ring-around-the-world" fiber optic cable network with the launch of its Total Global Network (TGN)-Gulf cable line on Thursday, connecting Middle Eastern markets to India. With this line, the Indian telecoms company's TGN-Eurasia system links Asia to Europe via Egypt, and provides increased bandwidth capacity and resilience to the three continents and beyond.

Speaking at the company's annual media and analyst summit here Thursday, CEO Vinod Kumar revealed that the completion of the TGN-Eurasia sytem marked the end of its years-long investments--totaling US$800 million--to build out a wholly-owned cable systems network circling the globe.

The TGN-Gulf line, in particular, connects Gulf nations such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, to Mumbai, India and the rest of the TGN network, Kumar  noted. This cable system was built in partnership with regional telecommunications providers such as Oman's Nawras, UAE's Etisalat, Qatar's Qtel, Bahrain Internet Exchange, and Saudi Arabia's Mobily, the company added.

"With our wholly-owned cable network system, we can better ensure service uptime and flexibility for our customers. No other competitor can say they have this capability," the CEO stated.

According to Tata Communications, the TGN network connects to key emerging markets including China, India, South Africa as well as the Gulf region, and currently covers nearly 20 percent of the world's Internet routes reaching over 240 countries and territories.

Its city-to-city connectivity approach differs from the more traditional networks that link cable landing stations, as it is more "cost effective, flexible, provides a faster time to market, and is easier to manage and maintain", the company said.

Genius Wong, senior vice president of global network services at Tata Communications, also told ZDNet Asia in a separate interview on Wednesday that the increased cable systems reach allowed her team to ramp up efforts to provide media and entertainment-related products and services through Tata Communications' network. This was in line with the company's focus on business video as one of its three "big bets" for future growth, highlighted by Kumar during the summit on Wednesday.

Wong noted that consumers today are no longer beholden to TV broadcasters and media houses for content due to the Internet and high-quality video content available on it.

This, in turn, has changed the way media companies operate and how they distribute content, she noted. Companies can no longer rely on 10-year investment plans for their broadcasting systems as they cannot be sure these systems will remain relevant after two to three years, she added.

As such, offerings such as Tata Communications' Video Connect, which allows for on-demand provisioning of additional network capacity and content delivery services, helps augment their broadcast capabilities as well as allow these companies to transit to more advanced digital delivery systems to better deliver the content consumers are demanding for, Wong stated.

Kevin Kwang of ZDNet Asia reported from Tata Communications' annual global media and analyst summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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