by Lightwave Staff

Gulf Bridge International (GBI) says it has landed its submarine cable network in Al Faw, Iraq. This makes the GBI undersea cable system the first to provide connectivity to Iraq, the company asserts.

The cable system is expected to significantly improve broadband services in Iraq. Currently, broadband penetration in the country stands at less than 3%, GBI says.

“The GBI cable is a crucial strategic initiative in the industry of subsea cables today using its impressive infrastructure to directly facilitate the development of all the countries connected to it,” commented Amir AL-Bayati, deputy of the Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company. “This project is especially important to us as it will feed the ever-growing hunger for capacity and connect the country to the rest of the world through the Gulf gateway.”

The GBI Cable System has a design capacity of 40 Gbps, roughly four times the Gulf’s current standard, with portions upgraded to 100 Gbps, using equipment from Xtera Communications (see “Gulf Bridge International signs Xtera Communications for terrestrial, undersea 100G”). The cable system will connect Qatar, the UAE, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia in a ring configuration. Outside the Gulf, the cable connects eastwards to Mumbai, India, and westwards to Sicily, Italy, with diverse routing to Milan and onwards to London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, and Marseilles.

Established in December 2008 with an initial investment of $445 million and completed in 2011, the GBI Cable System is designed to operate for up to 25 years. TE SubCom is providing construction services (see “Gulf Bridge awards supply and construction contract to Tyco Telecommunications”).