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A new Italy-India data route: Sparkle begins laying undersea cable

Tim Group’s global operator is now deploying a soon-to-be vital internet link across the Mediterranean and beyond, consolidating Genoa’s role as an international data hub for traffic between Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, PM Meloni travel to India – the connection project’s Easternmost destination

Sparkle begins laying BlueMed internet cable. The global operator of Tim Group has started operations to deploy a state-of-the-art, high-speed submarine data cable across and beyond the Mediterranean, connecting Italy with France, Greece, Israel and interlacing with other data backbones reaching as far East as India.

  • The BlueMed branch is part of the wider Blue Submarine Cable System project, launched in 2021 in partnership with Google and others, which will spread over 5,000 miles.

The CEO’s words. “BlueMed is meant to be the central system of digital traffic in the extended Mediterranean and represents an extraordinary opportunity for cooperation with the areas of the world that will see the greatest growth in the use of digital communications in the next decade,” said Sparkle’s CEO Enrico Bagnasco at the launch event in Genoa.

Mapping the project. The Blue Submarine Cable System will span across the European, African and Asian continents. It’s divided into two main branches: the Blue System will connect Italy, France, Greece and Israel, while the Raman System will touch Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman and India.

  • The laying of BlueMed began in late January, connecting Genoa to Sardinia. From there, it reached Rome days later. The cable will continue south across the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Sicily Hub in Palermo (Sparkle’s neutral data centre, connected with eighteen international cables).
    • That connection will be operational as early as May, and the extension to Corse is set to be completed in June.
  • From Sicily, the cable will pass through the Messina Strait and reach across the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, where it will connect to an Israeli hub.

Genoa’s role. The Northern Italian city is home to the Genoa Landing Platform infrastructure, featuring a multi-conductor submarine pipeline known as the “Bore Pipe” and, via a network of tunnels and underground galleries, reaches the Open Landing Station datacenter in Genoa Lagaccio, as well as open and neutral interconnection point with other submarine cables and national and continental land networks.

  • In addition to BlueMed, the Genoa Landing Platform is designed to accommodate up to six other different new cables safely, positioning the Ligurian capital as a new hub for traffic between Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe and a preferred route for future submarine systems seeking diversified access to the Western European coast.

Meloni in India. The Genoa event also had strong symbolic value, as it was held just a few days prior to the eagerly-awaited meeting between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

  • Both sides are seeking to relaunch and strengthen the many opportunities within the bilateral relationship, including green energy, science, technology and defence. Indian diplomacy also cited the “convergence on regional and global issues” – in other words, the Indo-Pacific and the relationship with China, which is complex for both Italy and India.

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