Seven Middle Eastern operators to build RCN cable

15 January 2011 |


Seven Middle Eastern telecoms operators have agreed a $500 million deal to build a terrestrial network to take traffic from across the region to Turkey’s border with Europe.

The Regional Cable Network (RCN) is a collaboration between Turkish operator Turk-cell, its wholly-owned subsidiary Superonline, the UAE’s Etisalat, Saudi Arabia’s Mobily, Jordan Telecom, Jordanian conglomerate Mada-Zain Consortium and the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment.

The RCN will be the Middle East’s longest redundant terrestrial communications infrastructure, taking a 7,750km route across five diff erent countries, and will further relieve the Persian Gulf from its dependence on submarine systems to connect to Europe and Asia.

“This is the second terrestrial project to tie the Middle East to Europe via Turkey, the first being JADI which connects Jeddah, Amman, Damascus and Istanbul, and which is already active,” said Alan Mauldin, research director with the TeleGeography consultancy.

“RCN is backed by different operators from JADI, except for STE in Syria which backs both, and will also go to the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia.” Starting in Fujairah in the UAE, the RCN network will extend through to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Amman in Jordan, Tartous in Syria, and Istanbul in Turkey and from there take traffi c directly into southern Europe. It will have a potential fully-lit capacity of 12.8Tbps, and is expected to be operational before the end of 2011.