Chennai, March 8, 2001 - Bharti Group, India's leading telecom conglomerate and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) today announced the formation of Network i2i Limited, India's first private submarine cable company. Network i2i, a 50:50 joint venture between Bharti and SingTel, will undertake the largest infrastructure project ever between Singaporean and Indian companies.


Network i2i will build and operate a submarine optical fibre cable network, estimated to cost US$650 million. The self-healing, 10,800 km-long ring network (i2i cable networkk) will link Singapore, Chennai and Mumbai. Bharti Aquanet Ltd., a 51:49 per cent joint venture between Bharti and SingTel will manage and operate the cable stations in India.

For the first phase of the cable network, Network i2i has established the first landing point of the cable network in Chennai. Work on the Chennai cable station has begun. The 3,200 km-long Singapore-Chennai leg of the cable network is expected to start carrying commercial traffic by first quarter of 2002.

The i2i cable network will have the world's largest bandwidth capacity, a total of 8.4 Terabits per second when completed. In Singapore, it will link to SingTel's extensive cable network infrastructure to the rest of the world. This includes the C2C cable network, SEA-ME-WE 3 and APCN 2.

According to Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Group Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises: "With the launch of the company and the commencement of this landing station, we are now closer to bridging the technology gap between India and the rest of the world. India will now be able to fulfill the demand for enhanced bandwidth to and from the sub-continent. Our Chennai-Singapore - Mumbai fibre ring will play a key role in providing India with a world-class facility. The i2i cable network will form the backbone of a state-of-the-art network that will support a world-class national carrier and Bharti's Domestic Long Distance Service."

"The formation of Network i2i is further confirmation of the close ties between SingTel and Bharti," said Mr Hoh Wing Chee, SingTel's Vice President (International Network) and Board Director of Network i2i Limited. "The commencement of work on the Chennai cable station is a major achievement and a crystallization of our efforts to develop a significant undersea link between Singapore and India."

Mr Hoh added: "The i2i cable network expands SingTel's international infrastructure and further enhances its position in the region as a leading communications player. It also strengthens our commitment to our partner, Bharti, to build a strong telecom infrastructure in India."

The phase of the cable development process to link Mumbai and Chennai via land, has already been half-completed by Bharti Telesonic. The last phase of the project, which will link Singapore and Mumbai is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2002.

Bharti seeks to achieve its key objective of creating and building a world-class telecom and information technology infrastructure in India through projects such as the i2i cable network. This includes fulfilling the needs of various customer segments - business and residential alike - through high-quality broadband services. Bharti BT Internet will be providing the bandwidth on the domestic backbone, while Bharti Telesonic will be responsible for sub-letting bandwidth to carriers.


About Network i2i Limited

Network i2i is a private cable development company co-owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), Asia's leading communications company; and the Bharti Group, India's leading telecom conglomerate. Network i2i will build the world's largest cable network in terms of bandwidth capacity, with a total bandwidth of 8.4 Terabits per second, linking Singapore, Chennai and Mumbai.

The entire i2i cable network utilizes the latest Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology to provide transmission facilities, which can be upgraded, to ensure durability. It will have a self-healing, completely redundant ring configuration for greater network resilience and route diversity.

Source: Bharti Airtel