November 03, 2004

VSNL completes Singapore's first Indian-owned undersea fiber-optic cable

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), announced today the official launch of the Tata Indicom Cable (TIC), Singapore's first fully Indian-owned, undersea fiber-optic cable. The TIC cable is 100 percent owned, operated and maintained by VSNL. 

The 3,175-km cable lands in Chennai in India and in Changi in Singapore. Construction of the cable began in November 2003 and went live on September 15, 2004, making it one of the fastest cable build-outs in history.

The new 5.12 terabit (Tbps) TIC cable system will significantly increase the existing bandwidth capacity into India, which is the second fastest growing communications route in the world. This cable is expected to provide much needed diversity to telecom operators and enterprises which are dramatically increasing their presence in India. Full ownership by VSNL will also allow for new solutions and commercial paradigms to be offered.

Speaking at a press conference in Singapore to inaugurate the TIC cable, the Chairman of the Tata group, Mr. Ratan N. Tata, said, "Several records have been achieved in completing this cable within a year of breaking ground. This cable, along with VSNL's successful bid earlier this week for acquisition of the Tyco Global Network, would position VSNL as one of the world's leading submarine cable bandwidth providers. We now intend to leverage the total capabilities of the Tata group in the IT and telecom space to strengthen our leadership globally as we continue our tradition of innovation and value-based services." 

Mr. Tata added that the launch of Tata Indicom Cable will further strengthen Singapore's position as an important IT and telecommunications hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also present at the launch was the Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, Mr. Teo Ming Kian. Mr. Teo said: "We welcome VSNL's launch of the Tata Indicom Cable. It will further strengthen the linkage between India and Singapore and add another reason for more companies to tap on Singapore as a bridge between India and the world. Already, there are some 1,400 Indian companies here who have found Singapore to be the appropriate launch-pad to the world and many more companies of other nationalities that find Singapore a convenient access point to India. This will certainly help strengthen Singapore's role in India's economic development. 'Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore' was represented at the launch by its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Tan Ching Yee. Mrs Tan said, "IDA welcomes and supports VSNL's new cable landing in Singapore. This shows VSNL's commitment to investing in new facilities that can further enhance Singapore's role as a leading infocomm hub. The Tata Indicom Cable will help facilitate business between India and Singapore. Businesses in both countries will now have more choices in direct comms link."

Commenting on the impact of this new cable to India, Frost & Sullivan Partner, Mr. Manoj Menon said, "The rise of the BPO sector, proliferation of MNCs coupled with growth of the domestic economy, spells promising times ahead for the international bandwidth market for India, set to grow at a very healthy CAGR of 43 per cent over the next five years. 

TIC aids VSNL's international expansion
VSNL set up the VSNL International Business Group, with its headquarters in Singapore, in April 2004 to extend its service capabilities and customer-facing activities in key markets outside India, including the U.S.A., UK, Europe and Asia. VSNL International intends to grow its staff and operations to more than eight offices and 100 employees by the end of 2005. 

Executive director of VSNL International Business Group, Mr. Vinod Kumar said, "The TIC launch is perfectly timed to meet the growing need for bandwidth into and out of India. TIC also provides the much needed diversity to support the mission critical applications and decision support systems that our customers use." 

VSNL has procured capacity on other cable systems to enable the provision of end to end services to other markets. "TIC will be the cornerstone for our international expansion since it provides the most critical component in our effort to build-out true end-to-end service capability to key markets," said Kumar.

Recent milestones for VSNL include:

  • November 2004: Acquiring Tyco Global Network of submarine telecom cables 

  • September 2004: Completes 3,175-km, 5.12 terabits, Tata Indicom Cable system 

  • June 2004: VSNL International Business Group sets up global headquarters in Singapore 

  • April 2004: Becomes the first telecom service provider globally to achieve TL 9000 certification. 

  • April 2004: Establishes VSNL International Business Group

  • March 2004: Acquires the narrowband and broadband businesses of Dishnet's ISP division, a pioneer in Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband access services in India.

  • February 2004: Announces a strategic partnership with Asia Netcom to enhance India's connectivity to the Asia Pacific region. 

  • November 2003: Commences work on Tata Indicom Cable system 

About VSNL
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) is India's leading provider of International Telecommunications and Internet Services and the first telecom service provider in the world to get the prestigious TL 9000 certification. As the country's leader in International Long Distance services and with a strong pan-India National Long Distance presence, VSNL is the leader in the Corporate Data Market in the country today with a strong service offering covering IPLCs, ILLs, Frame relay, ATM and MPLS based IP-VPN services. With established relations with over 80 carriers across the globe, VSNL today has a strong infrastructure base that covers multiple gateways, earth stations and submarine cable systems.

VSNL is now rapidly growing its retail and corporate presence under the Tata Indicom brand through its products like high speed broadband, dial-up Internet, net telephony and calling cards, and has an internet subscriber base of over 750,000 subscribers. The Company also proposes to consolidate its presence in the Internet space by increasing its impetus on the Retail Broadband business. 

VSNL also offers a host of other valued added services that include Television / Video uplinking, Program transmission services, Frame relay services and Inmarsat services. 

VSNL is in the process of expanding its global presence and is setting up operations in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Europe and the United States of America. Its international connectivity capabilities, both undersea as well as satellite, offer the greatest diversity in India, which is critical for all customer segments, encompassing wholesale, corporate and retail. The company is augmenting its international connectivity by setting up a 3,175 km undersea cable between Chennai and Singapore with a designed capacity of 5.12 Terabits. VSNL is listed across all the major stock exchanges in India and also has its ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange. (

About Tata Indicom Cable (TIC)
The new 3,175 km wholly-owned private submarine cable is a point to point cable system connecting Chennai, India and Singapore. The state-of-the-art cable system has an initial capacity of 320 gigabits per second with the ability to scale up to its design capacity of 5.12 terabits per second. The cable utilizes Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology with a design specification of 96 wavelengths of 10 gigabits per second on 8 fiber pairs.

The cable system is equipped with redundant equipment to provide span protection in case of wavelength failure. The cable route avoids the heavy traffic zones with heavy fishing activities thus improving the cable's uptime and performance. 

TIC has a flexible configuration with 4 branching units which allow the cable system to be further extended to other countries when required.

At Chennai, the cable landing station is owned and operated by VSNL. The station in housed in the same building as VSNL's city Point of Presence (PoP). The PoP is connected to VSNL's extensive national network connecting the TIC to more than 200 cities in India. 

The Singapore cable landing station is located at Changi. The cable capacity is backhauled to Global Switch which is a carrier neutral PoP located at Tai Seng Avenue. 

TIC Specifications:
Landing Points :Chennai, India and Changi, Singapore 
City POP : Chennai, India
Global Switch, Tai Seng Avenue, Singapore 
Cable Length 3,175 Km 
No. of Fiber Pairs 8 
System Capacity 5.12 Terabits per Second 
Initial Capacity 320 Giga bits per second 
Branching Units 4 

Forward-looking and cautionary statements:
Certain words and statements in this release concerning VSNL and its prospects, and other statements relating to VSNL's expected financial position, business strategy, the future development of VSNL's operations and the general economy in India, are forward-looking statements. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of VSNL, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding VSNL's present and future business strategies and the environment in which VSNL will operate in the future. The important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements include, among others, changes in government policies or regulations of India and, in particular, changes relating to the administration of VSNL's industry, and changes in general economic, business and credit conditions in India. Additional factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, many of which are not in VSNL's control, include, but are not limited to, those risk factors discussed in VSNL's various filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. These filings are available at These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. VSNL expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in VSNL's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

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