Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle East's first privately owned submarine cable operator, and Interoute, owner operator of Europe's most advanced next-generation network, announced an agreement which will extend both companies' international connectivity.

Scheduled to launch in 2011 and designed to operate for up to 25 years, GBI's cable system will provide telecom operators and other communications companies, both in the region and globally, with greater choice, value, diversity and resilience. The GBI Cable System, which will utilize the latest subsea fiber cable technology, will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other and provide onward connectivity to Europe and Asia. With a design capacity of up to 5 terabits per second on certain cable sections, the GBI Cable System will have the capability to meet the rapid growth in demand that has been forecast for traffic originating and terminating in Gulf.

Under the agreement, GBI will provide capacity on the GBI Cable System (GBICS) to Interoute in countries and cities where GBICS lands and Interoute will provide capacity on the Interoute Network to GBI in Africa, Europe, transatlantic routes and in Northern America.

“I am very pleased that GBI has announced this agreement with Interoute.” commented Mr. Ahmed Mekky, Board Member and CEO of GBI “Interoute has an extensive network across Europe and this agreement will considerably enhance connectivity between Europe and the Middle East. This announcement reflects GBI's commitment to Connect the World to the Gulf. International traffic between the two regions is growing at an unprecedented rate and together with Interoute, we will be able to address that demand and provide greater diversity and resilience. Through agreements such as this, GBI will be able to provide global reach to our customers.”

Ian Bedford, VP business development at Interoute, said: “The cornerstones of the global internet need strengthening and we are excited to be taking steps to make this happen. There has been a clear need to boost resilience in this territory for some time and we are pleased to be working with GBI to build a more resilient communications bridge between the Middle East and Africa, Europe and North America.”