An 8,100 km submarine cable system owned by The Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) consortium is now live to handle bandwidth demand across its landing points in 6 countries. The new gateway has landing points in Fujairah (UAE), Barka (Oman), Mumbai (India), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Chennai (India), Mt Lavinia (Sri Lanka), Penang (Malaysia) and Singapore.
The BBG cable system is owned and maintained by telecom operates including: Dialog Axiata of Sri Lanka, Etisalat of UAE, Omantel of Oman, Reliance Jio of India, Telekom Malaysia Berhad of Malaysia, and Vodafone of UK. All these operators are also a part of the BBG consortium.
Upgradable bandwidth: The fibre optic cables used in the BBG system employs Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), which allows the capacity to be increased anytime without any additional submarine intervention. The initially available capacity is 9Tb/s; which can be extended up to 55Tb/s.
BBG also uses a cost-effective Digital Line Section (DLS) based model that allows optimum bandwidth utilization without the need of a reserved bandwidth unit, used in times of network congestion. Additionally, this allows each telecom operator of the consortium to carry out an upgrade whenever and wherever required.
Reliance Jio benefits: Reliance Jio owns and operates BBG’s undersea cable landing facility in Chennai. It will use the exclusive bandwidth from the BBG cable system to offer high-speed broadband services in the country. It is also worthy to note that the Indian government has approved VoIP interconnection and spectrum liberalization—both which comes as a boon to Reliance Jio, which is currently planning to roll out commercial 4G operations across India.
Several media reports have mentioned that ‘Reliance Jio has launched the BBG gateway’ and some even attribute RJio as a ‘lead investor’ in the BBG consortium. This is incorrect; Alcatel-Lucent had signed a contract in April 2013 with the consortium to build and deploy the entire cable infrastructure for an undisclosed amount.
Agartala gateway: Last month, through an agreement between India’s state run telco BSNL and Bangladesh’s Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, Agartala was allocated to receive 10 GB of additional internet bandwidth. The connectivity project between the two countries was originally inked in July last year.
Internet gateways in India: As of now, India connects to the Internet through Mumbai and Chennai, and to a lesser extent through Cochin, Trivandrum and Tuticorin. Mumbai has eleven international submarine cables coming in, whereas Chennai has four, Cochin has two and Trivandrum and Tuticorin have one each.