FLAG founder sets up Indian Ocean and Atlantic subsea projects

04 January 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Cable entrepreneur Sunil Tagare has announced two new subsea cable projects – one designed to connect Marseille to New York directly, and the other to run straight from Singapore to Mumbai on India’s west coast.

Announcing the projects via a pair of LinkedIn posts, Tagare did not give details of the funding for the projects. But Tagare has a track record in financial cable projects: in 1989 he began the privately financed Fiber Optic Link Around the Global (FLAG), which Verizon sold to Reliance Communications in 2003. The operation is now Global Cloud Xchange.

Sing-India-Sing CableTagare said that his Sing-India-Sing Cable will bypass India’s Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) rules. “It will land in an open cable station in Mumbai where the RIO charges will be zero and any carrier will be able to access the [cable landing station] without any prejudice. And Open India will also be an internet exchange where customers can freely choose the carriers and create real competition on the ground.”

Tagare’s other project will be called Brexit-1, he announced. It will connect “more than a dozen cables landing in Marseille from the Middle East, India and Asia to New York bypassing the United Kingdom”.

It will be “the lowest latency cable between Marseille and New York”, he claimed. He added: “With the chaos around Brexit, it is virtually impossible to know how it will shake out over the next few years. The best bet right now is to avoid UK completely and go directly to NY.”

Brexit-1The cable is designed to run through the Straits of Gibraltar, a decision that has provoked some discussion online. One pointed out that it “ranks among the top 10 of the world’s busiest shipping lanes”, but Tagare replied: “Route diversity is a critical element of network planning. Almost half a dozen cables already traverse the Straits of Gibraltar. Burying the cable will also enhance security.”

One the Singapore-Mumbai cable Tagare says he will sell “only full fibre pairs”, but on the Marseille-New York cable “you can buy a full, half or a quarter fibre pair and have complete control over upgrades and your equipment”.

Tagare, who left FLAG Telecom in 1996, was later founder and CEO of Project Oxygen, a cable project unrelated to a current Google operation of the same name. He later set up a capacity trading business, BuySellBandwidth.