By Submarine Cable NewsFeed

Alcatel-Lucent has signed a turnkey

contract with a consortium composed of nine operators to deploy a new submarine cable network linking Mumbai in India to Marseilles in France, over approximately

13,000 km. Named India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE), this new submarine cable network meets the need for enhanced, backhaul communications capabilities

along the India-Western Europe route, as well as for increased capacity to support high-bandwidth broadband services. As part of I-ME-WE, a terrestrial link will

also be deployed in Egypt to connect the cities of Alexandria and Suez.

As we reported in the NewsFeed last week (see TSA NewsFeed for February 8, 2008), the

nine parties that form the consortium include Bharti, Etisalat, France Telecom, Ogero Telecom, PTCL, STC, Telecom Egypt, Telecom Italia Sparkle and VSNL. With

completion scheduled in the last quarter of 2009, I-ME-WE will help support the global traffic growth driven by the need of peer-to-peer IP-based services including

video applications, broadband Internet, downloading, voice and video calling.

As Internet users require high bandwidth for a best quality of experience,

these innovative services place new capacity demands on transoceanic communication networks. With a minimum design capacity of 3.84 Terabit per second – 128 x 10

Gbps on three fiber pairs, I-ME-WE will be composed of two trunk cables connecting India to France via Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt,

Lebanon and Italy. Along the route, this cable network will have ten landing points located in Mumbai (two), Karachi, Fujairah, Jeddah, Suez, Alexandria, Tripoli,

Catania and Marseilles. Alcatel-Lucent will build the turnkey system with the support of its subcontractor NEC who will provide and install the wet plant from

Mumbai to Jeddah.

“I-ME-WE reflects the need for enhanced capacity, connectivity and diversity to best meet the end-users' demands,” said Mr. K.P. Tiwari,

Chairman of the consortium's Management Committee. “With its field-proven experience in network deployment and project management, Alcatel-Lucent is a trusted

partner to facilitate regional and international connectivity.”

“We are pleased to support Alcatel-Lucent in this project enhancing the cooperation among our

companies that has already proven effective in similar large submarine systems” said Osamu Harada, General Manager of Submarine Network Division at NEC Corporation.

“In such major system our cooperation grants the purchasers the high reliability and security for timely delivery.”

“Our commitment is to deliver the most

advanced submarine technology to help our customers meet the continued growth of broadband adoption rates with the highest quality,” stated Etienne Lafougère,

President of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network activity. “This new contract confirms the reliability of our submarine solutions as well as our end-to-end ability

to provide every part of a global transport network.”