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India gets a new Internet cable system connecting Asia-Africa-EU

The Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) submarine cable system which connects 19 countries including India, along with 21 cable landing points is now live. The cable system spans 25,000 Km connecting South Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. The AAE-1 submarine cable system was built with joint efforts from a consortium of 17 telecom operators from all of these countries and commercially went live on 23rd June 2017, according to this SubmarineCableNetworks report.

Here is a lowdown of the capacity and other important details:

Capacity: The AAE-1 cable system has a maximum capacity of 100 Gbps, along with a design capacity of more than 40 TeraBytes with 5 fibers pairs or 5 different fiber Cables spanning 25,000 Km.

Point of Presence (PoPs): A total of 21 PoPs or cable landing positions including in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.

Telecom members: A total of 19 telecom members include China Unicom, CIL (HyalRoute), Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, GT5L, Mobily, Omantel, Ooredoo, OTEG, PCCW, PTCL, Reliance Jio, Retelit, Telecom Egypt, TeleYemen, TOT, Viettel, VNPT and VTC, as per SubMarine CableNetworks and the official AAE-1 website.

Reliance Jio’s role: The company did not clarify the amount of bandwidth it will receive from the cable system in its statement. Jio, however, said that it will take care of Network Operations & Management for AAE-1 Cable System.

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Dedicated Use: In India, the AAE-1 cable system will help bring better capacity for mobile apps, especially for video-centric data bandwidth, according to Jio’s statement.

Most of the Indian mainstream media reports have wrongly reported that Jio launched this cable system; these claims are wrong and inaccurate. Interestingly, this isn’t the first instance that Jio claimed to have “launched” a cable system. In April last year, the ‘Bay of Bengal’ (BBG) consortium involving 6 operators globally went live. Jio is also a part of this, but at that time 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. Note that months later Airtel also joined a different Middle East North Africa Company Submarine Cable System (MENA-SCS) in response.

Other cable system connecting 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 14 international submarine cables coming in, whereas Chennai has 4, Cochin has 2 and Trivandrum and Tuticorin has one each. Recently, Puducherry received an international landing point involving the IOX fiber cable system. Here is a full list of Internet gateways connecting India.

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