Sparkle, Google, to build Blue and Raman submarine cable systems

Created August 3, 2021
News and Business

International service provider Sparkle, part of Italy’s TIM Group, is to build two new submarine cable systems in collaboration with Google and other companies. Blue will connect Italy, France, Greece and Israel, while Raman will connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman and India. Each system will be equipped with 16 fibre pairs and utilise concepts of open cable, supporting multiple fibre tenants and open landing stations, enabling competitive access to the cable termination points.

In particular, Blue will be deployed along a new northbound route in the Mediterranean, crossing the Strait of Messina, rather than following the traditional route through Sicily Channel. Sparkle says that as a result, ISPs, carriers, telecom operators, content providers, enterprises and institutions will benefit from high-speed Internet and state-of-the-art capacity services with unparalleled diversity and performances.

Within the Blue System, BlueMed submarine cable is now Sparkle’s own private domain sharing its wet components with four additional fibre pairs and an initial design capacity of more than 25Tbps per fibre pair, and is extended up to Jordan (Aqaba) with additional private branches into France (Corsica), Greece (Chania – Crete), Italy (Golfo Aranci – Sardinia and Rome), Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Cyprus with further branches planned for the future.

Sparkle’s global submarine network. Source: Sparkle

In addition, Sparkle’s Genoa Open Landing Platform is set to become the alternative priority access for other upcoming submarine cables looking for a diversified entry to Europe, backhauled to the Milan’s digital marketplace, creating a new reference gateway between Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Blue and Raman are expected to be ready for service in 2024, with the Tyrrhenian part of BlueMed planned to be operational already in 2022.

“We are extremely proud to bring our collaboration with Google to the next level with this cutting-edge intercontinental infrastructure,” commented Elisabetta Romano, CEO of Sparkle. “With Blue and Raman Submarine Cable Systems, Sparkle boosts its capabilities in the strategic routes between Asia, Middle East and Europe and the enhanced BlueMed strengthens our presence in the greater Mediterranean area.”

In July 2020, Google announced plans to build a new subsea cable linking the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain. Once commissioned, said the company, the Grace Hopper cable will be one of the first new cables to connect the US and UK since 2003. The aim is to increase capacity on this busy global crossroads and power Google services such as Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud. It also marked Google’s first investment in a private subsea cable route to the UK, and its first-ever route to Spain.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.