Asia Express - East Asian ICT
Data Communications - India's VSNL Snags Undersea Network
November 03, 2004
VSNL (Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.), India's primary international phone company, announced this week that it is buying an undersea fiber optics network from Tyco International for US$130 million, and planning to invest around US$110 million on domestic broadband services.


VSNL's newly acquired submarine cable network spans over 37,280 miles (59,648 kilometers), three continents, and crosses the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. VSNL is also scheduled to launch a new undersea cable between India and Singapore later in November.


The fiber optics network and expansion of broadband are seen as a major boon for India's thriving outsourcing industry. VSNL is a unit of the Tata Group, which also controls one of India's largest outsourcing companies, Tata Consultancy Services.


According to a VSNL spokesperson, the US$110 million investment in broadband services will be spread out over six months and it aims to connect up to one million customers. VSNL will offer a bandwidth of at least 500 kilobits per second. VSNL has also signed a contract with Cisco Systems to provide routers and switches for the broadband expansion.