Indian mega-carrier Jio to build pair of 200-terabit submarine cables

One going all the way from Mumbai to Italy, the other is Singapore-bound

Indian telecoms conglomerate Reliance Jio has announced it will build two submarine cables to help it satisfy India’s appetite for data.

One of the cables is called IEX, short for India-Europe-Express, and will head west from Mumbai and connect to the Middle East and North Africa before ending in Italy. Connecting points include Salalah (Oman), Djibouti, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Yanbu (Saudi Arabia), Duba (Saudi Arabia), Zafarana (Egypt), Sidi Karir (Egypt) Timpaki (Greece), and Savona (Italy).

Jio has left open the possibility for connections to Karachi (Pakistan), Muscat (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Amara (Eritrea), Paphos (Cyprus), Milan (Italy), and Marseille (France).

The other cable, IAX, short for “India Asia Express” will head east from Mumbai to Asia Pacific, landing on the way at Matara (Sri Lanka), Chennai (India), Satun (Thailand), Morib (Malaysia) and ending in Singapore.

Optional stops for IAX include the Indian city of Vizag, a location that says is not currently served by any other cables. Other optional stops are Male (Maldives), Kolkata (India), Kuakata (Bangladesh), Ngwesaung (Myanmar), and Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

The cable will offer 200 Tbps over its 16,000 km length. IAX should be ready for service in mid 2023, IEX sometime in 2024.

Reliance Jio president Mathew Oommen said the company was “taking a leadership role in the construction of the first of its kind, India-centric IAX and IEX subsea systems” to “meet the demands of streaming video, remote workforce, 5G, IoT and beyond.”

India currently does not have 5G, although it has approved trials of the technology. However, the demand for data use in India will likely stay high, at least in the near future, as work-from-home and learn-from-home measures continue in a country intensely battling COVID. ®

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