Interoute partners with GBI to extend reach

Middle East subsea cable operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) has struck a deal with European carrier Interoute in the interests of extending the international reach of both companies.

GBI’s 5Tbps ring system around the Persian Gulf, scheduled for completion in 2011, will be the first to connect all countries in that region on the same network, and will also extend to India. With the Interoute partnership, GBI will now benefit from onward connectivity to Europe and the US as well. Under the agreement, GBI will provide capacity on the GBI Cable System (GBICS) to Interoute in the countries and cities where the cable lands, with Interoute reciprocating.

GBI said that its cable will provide useful diversity for Middle Eastern telecoms operators, with all the other major networks running through the Gulf designed primarily to carry traffic from Asia to Europe rather than intraregionally. It claimed it will also be capitalising on rapid growth in demand for traffic originating and terminating in the Gulf.

Mohamed Elagazy, senior VP of strategy, business development and international relations with GBI, said: “We can offer our customers a route all the way from Mumbai to the US, taking in places like Iran for the first time. We will be satisfying customers with a truly global network when we launch, probably in Q3 or Q4 next year. We’re now looking actively at other network operators to interconnect with.”

“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,” said Ian Bedford, VP of business development at Interoute. “The cornerstones of the global internet need strengthening and we are excited to be taking steps to make this happen.”

Interoute has also extended its presence into Russia in response to what it says is increasing demand for connectivity and services in the region. It has opened an office in Moscow and appointed a Russia and CIS country manager, Elena Chernykh.

“Since we extended our network into Russia we’ve experienced a huge demand for our services from both domestic and international companies looking for next-generation services and a flexible pricing policy,” said Chernykh.

She claimed the Russian market has experienced the fastest internet population growth in Europe, with users in Moscow alone more than doubling from 27% to 60% between 2002 and 2009.

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