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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman to connect to new Blue-Raman intercontinental cable system

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MUSCAT, MARCH 12


Underscoring its strategic geographical location in the Middle East, the Sultanate of Oman will be connected to a new intercontinental submarine cable system linking Europe, Africa and Asia.


Dubbed the Blue-Raman submarine cable system, it will add to a growing cluster of international undersea telecom cable systems — 21 at last count — with landing points on Oman’s shores.


International service provider Sparkle, part of Italy’s TIM Group, is building the cable system in collaboration with Internet giant Google and other companies.


Blue-Raman is in fact two distinct cable systems: one, named Blue Med, which connects Italy, France and Greece among other European nations, and the other, named Raman, connects Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and Oman before terminating at Mumbai on the west coast of India. Spanning a total distance of about 8,000 km, the Blue-Raman system is valued at around $400 million.


While cable-laying on the Blue Med part of the system began earlier this year, a cable-laying ship chartered by Sparkle recently commenced work on the Raman system. Raman gets its name from the late Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, an Indian physicist who won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics — the first Asian to receive that honour in science.


Equipped with 16 fibre pairs apiece, the two systems will offer ISPs, carriers, telecom operators, content providers, enterprises and institutions high-speed Internet and state-of-the-art capacity services with unparalleled performance, according to Sparkle.


When operational sometime during 2024, the Blue-Raman system will be capable of transporting data at blazing speeds of 400 terabits per second, outperforming current cable systems which offer top speeds of 224 terabits per second.


With Oman at the junction of some of the largest concentrations of submarine cables globally, it is actively looking to harness opportunities stemming from its proximity to this growing undersea telecom infrastructure. One option is to build ground stations that can enable connectivity with undersea cables with landing points on Oman’s shores.


According to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, the growing number of international undersea cables in Oman’s proximity can easily link in real-time the data downloaded from satellites to end users. The move is being explored through Oman’s space programme.


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