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Reliance Jio to build two India-centric international submarine cable systems

New international submarine cable systems are being built to connect India to the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Subcom

Reliance Jio has announced it will build two new international submarine cable systems that are both centred on India.

One of the cables, called the India-Asia-Xpress (IAX), will connect India eastbound to the Asia Pacific, extending connectivity from Mumbai and Chennai to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The second cable, the India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) cable, will connect India to landings in Italy, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Beyond connecting to the Asia Pacific and Europe, the two cables will also be connected to Reliance Jio's global fibre network, which means it will also extend to both the east and west coast of the US.

These systems will provide more than 200Tbps of capacity across over 16,000km. According to Jio, this will be achieved through using open system technology and wavelength switched RoADM/branching units.

The pair of cables, once complete, would mark the first time that India is placed at the centre of a fibre optic submarine telecommunications system, Reliance Jio president Mathew Oommen said.

Oommen explained the decision to place India in the centre of the network was due to the growth of digital services and data consumption in the country.

"Jio is at the forefront of India's explosive growth in digital services and data consumption. To meet the demands of streaming video, remote workforce, 5G, IoT, and beyond, Jio is taking a leadership role in the construction of the first of its kind, India-centric IAX and IEX subsea systems," Oommen said.

IAX is expected to be ready by mid-2023. The IEX, meanwhile, is flagged for an early-2024 rollout.

Jio Platforms, the holding company for Reliance Jio, has been on a tear of late, having earned ₹12,537 crore in net profit, around $1.7 billion, in the past financial year.

In that span, the Indian telco also grew its customer base to 426 million, which represented a net increase of 38 million, while picking up another 490MHz worth of spectrum to be the biggest spender at India's most recent spectrum auction. By comparison, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea only picked up 355.45MHz and 11.8MHz of spectrum, respectively. 

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