A consortium of telecoms providers yesterday signed a construction and maintenance agreement to deploy a new 8,000km submarine cable system linking Malaysia and Singapore to Oman and the UAE, with branches to India and Sri Lanka. Subsea World News writes that the consortium teaming up for the project, dubbed the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG), consists of: Malaysian fixed line incumbent Telekom Malaysia; the UK’s Vodafone Group; state-backed full service provider Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel); UAE-based Etisalat Group; Dialog Axiata, the Sri Lankan arm of Malaysia’s Axiata; and Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The cable will provide connectivity between South East Asia and the Middle East, as well as linking to Europe, Africa and Far East Asia through interconnection with existing cable systems.

The group has signed a turn-key contract with French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent for the deployment of the 100G cable system, which will have landing stations in Barka (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Mumbai and Chennai (India), Ratmalana (Sri Lanka), Penang (Malaysia) and Singapore. The BBG is scheduled to begin commercial operation by end-2014. Under the terms of the deal Alca-Lu will install cable and repeaters and will also be responsible for project management, system design and commissioning and marine operations.

Chairman of the consortium’s interim procurement group, Edward West commented on the plans: ‘BBG, the first system to be lit as 100G on day one, will be a steep change in capacity on this important route. The bandwidth, resilience and traffic routing of the BBG configuration, and Alcatel-Lucent’s capabilities and track record, give us the confidence that this system will be able to address the fast-evolving expectations of our customers in line with their demands.’