We have discussed different Arab initiatives to reach Europe through cross-border terrestrial optical fiber links. Now Vodafone’s Qatar unit, du of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait’s Zain along with the country’s ISP named Zajil have formed another consortium – Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS). And optical power ground wire (OPGW) will be the vehicle during initial leg of its long distance terrestrial telecoms journey to Europe.
MEETS has rented 1,400-km OPGW from the power transmission grid of Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) interconnection authority for 15 years. The consortium will invest US$36 million to primarily inject 2300 Gbps capacity using 100G optical transport network (OTN) technology. It will dramatically increase the resilience of regional telecom backbone. Gulf News has captured major drivers of MEETS:
Mahesh Jaishankar, vice-president Datamena and broadcast commercial at du, said the time to repair a cut in submarine cable is between 14 days to one month while the terrestrial cable cut will take only shorter time to repair.
He said all the cables right now go through Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Egypt and Mediterranean.
“We have witnessed cut in submarine cables in the past and the security of the terrestrial cables will depend on the security situation in the zone. Our zone is quite safe compared to others,” Osman said.
MEETS network will run from Kuwait to Fujairah (UAE) via Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Its final destination is Turkey via Iraq. The consortium is yet to disclose its mode of transport while crossing the highly challenging (in every respect) terrains of Iraq. OPGW across the diverse routes of Iraqi power transmission grid would be the safest option.
Telecom subsidiary of Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) has installed world’s first 100G OTN across its 22,000-km of domestic OPGW backbone last year. MEETS will be, however, the world’s first multi-country telecom transmission network over OPGW. Cross-sector infrastructure sharing is the undeniable reality of this century.