The Middle East’s investment in terrestrial fiber optic cable system connecting Arab nations, shortly known as RCN (Regional Cable Network) has announced their commercial launch. RCN is a consortium of predominant telecom operators in the region consisting Etisalat of UAE, Zain of Jordan, Turkcell’s Superonline of Turkey, Mobily of Saudi Arabia, Orange of Jordan and Syrian Telecom. RCN is a high capacity terrestrial fiber optic network that runs from Fujairah to Riyadh and then to Amman during the initial phase. This will connect to the existing submarine fiber optic cables that connect to the Europe.
The consortium consisting major telecom operators, RCN was established in December 2010 with an aim to link the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey terrestrially. Add/Drop Terminal Stations are installed at Fujairah (UAE) and Istanbul (Turkey). There are Add/Drop Intermediate Stations in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Amman (Jordan) and Tartous (Syria). This terrestrial fiber optic networks is crucial for the regions partners not only for pure telecommunication purpose, but also for surveillance, e-learning and e-health. The Arab nations and Turkey share common culture that is unique to these countries. These cultural links thread them together. Regional co-operation among these Middle East partners could be reinforce by the implementation of high speed fiber optic links.
The Arab nations are in the news due to the recent political and religious unrest that started affecting the rest of the world. Government authorities in Gulf countries have been implementing security measures that includes monitoring of borders using fiber optic surveillance system. Saudi Arabia had deployed fiber optic cables along its borders to aid monitoring it’s borders that it shares with Yemen. Enhanced security and monitoring is just one of the enormous benefits that the terrestrial fiber optic ring will bring to these countries. When the RCN fiber optic ring is connected with the domestic and international fiber optic networks in respective countries, it will contribute to the growth in ICT sector and thereby to the GDP.
Preference was given to the deployment of Fujairah – Amman segment of RCN in the first phase considering the high level of insecurity in Syria and its borders. Thus the RCN cable system extending from Fujairah to Amman was rolled out and is ready for commercial service. The length of the activated RCN today is currently 5,000km and can offer upto 1.2 Tbps in multiples of 10G Ethernet. The consortium decides to extend the RCN to Turkey once the socio-political climate in Syria get improved. RCN needs to cross the northern regions of Syria in order to reach Turkey.
The development and launch of this fiber optic cable is of great significance to the region as it avails additional network capacity to the region. It supports the highest levels of redundancy and availability and helping support the incredible rise in demand for data access across the region, officials said. The RCN consortium is an example of multi-country and multi-operator cooperation that contributes to the regional co-operation and mutual dependency. Enhanced regional co-operation among Arab nations will help to stabilize the troubled political system in member countries. Modern telecommunication networks help connect people and exchange information more quickly that will help build mutual confidence among the communities across continents. RCN fiber optic network is deployed and launched for commercial use to realize enhanced communication means that will drive Arab nations conglomerate with rest of the world.
The RCM project will guarantee that every site along the cable path is always accessible even if a network’s service is intermittent or interrupted. Further developmental plans for the fiber optic cable includes extension of network from Istanbul to Europe, where multiple access points located along the Bulgarian and Greek borders with Turkey are already available. The original agreement charted out a 7,750km round trip fiber optic cable link comprised of two redundant fiber pairs with initial equipped capacity of 1.2Tbps and design capacity of 6.4Tbps fully redundant routes.