(Agencies) Telecommunications in, from and to Gibraltar are to be improved substantially with a connection to a fibre optic cable network that runs from India to the UK, according to sources at 6 Convent Place.>PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ITEMS SUCH AS THIS MAY BE SUBJECT TO SUBSCRIPTION IN THE FUTURE but you can make a donation NOW, too! Please click here for more information on how to help us continue. (This item was translated) GibTelecom is part of a consortium that seeks to offer wider broadband capacity and the latest in IT technology through the Europe India Gateway (EIG), which is well advanced in development by several telecommunications operators. GibTelecom’s investment is around the €21 million mark, and the system is expected to be in operation by mid-2010.
The announcement comes amid tension with Spain regarding the waters surrounding the Rock. The European Union recently declared some of the waters as of Community Interest and belonging to Spain. This declaration goes against a previous one that said that a section of the waters -now surrounded by ‘Spanish waters’- was in Gibraltar’s jurisdiction. The matter is being raised at the European Courts of Justice. (See related item here.)
However, Senator José Carracao, government spokesperson on Gibraltar matters, declined to relate the cable system with the jurisdictional waters issue, adding that, as he sees it, the cable is a ‘technical matter’ so he doesn’t foresee any opposition on the part of the Spanish Government.
The EIG system will allow Gibraltar to further develop and ensure much better connections to its financial and e-business services, among which stand out online casinos. The cable will offer state-of-the-art technology and is designed to carry 3.84 terabytes per second (Tbps) using a DWDM system that permits support for Internet, e-commerce, video, data and voice up-dateable transmission.
The submarine fibre-optic cable is some 15,000 kilometres long and will allow connections between thirteen territories on three continents: UK, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, UAE and India. It will also be connected to other network systems in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.
At the same time, EIG will also allow Gibraltar to become considerably less dependent in terms of telecommunications, as it is now dependant on land-based system, crossing the frontier through Spanish operators such as Telefónica and Ono. While it is true that satellite-based systems are present on the Rock, communications are largely through land-based technology. The submarine cable, on the other hand, offers larger capacity.
Sources on the Rock say this is a major step towards independence regarding telecommunications and comes after the Tripartite Forum allowed Gibraltar to have 10 million landline phone numbers -it used to have only 30,000, controlled by the Spanish government- and another 5 million for mobile phones, through the international dial code +350 for Gibraltar.
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