Barely a week after the unprecedented outage following an unrelated, simultaneous power-down on GO’s two submarine cables, the telecoms company has announced a multi-million Euro investment in a third new submarine cable system.
This move by GO will reshape Malta’s international connectivity to the rest of the world. Unlike all current submarine cables, the new system will branch out into a dual connection which means that for the first time in telecoms history in Malta, the country will have an international high-speed fibre connection towards both the Western and Eastern part of the Mediterranean.
Once completed, the new system will connect Malta to Marseille, thus bypassing the traditional connection to mainland Italy, as well as to Egypt. The diversity of this investment also lies in the fact that contrary to all current submarine cables that connect Malta from the East coast of the island, this new system will be the only cable that provides international connectivity from the West coast. Works on the production of the cable, as well as critical preparations on the local physical infrastructure are already under way.
Last week’s circumstances, which impacted all GO’s fixed and mobile internet services, international voice calls, roaming services, as well as certain dedicated business services, were described by GO as “extreme and extraordinary” to the extent that the company felt duty-bound to cancel its annual Christmas staff party for its 800-strong workforce and mobilize hundreds of employees to attend to the sudden technical circumstances and restore GO’s services in the shortest time possible.
GO currently operates two international submarine cables that connect Malta to Sicily, both designed to provide redundancy in the event that one of the submarine cable systems is out of service and if one cable is out of service, all protected traffic is carried on the other cable system automatically.
The second submarine cable which lands in the West side of Sicily was inaugurated in 2008. The new investment in a third submarine cable will take redundancy for Maltese businesses and customers to a complete new level, and once completed, will heavily reduce the risk of a reoccurrence of last week’s events.
“As a leader in its field, GO is once again responding to the country’s need for a more robust telecommunications infrastructure. This multi-million-euro investment will promote Malta as the absolute Mediterranean hub for telecommunications and business. GO continues to be an active player and one of the largest investors in the country’s economic journey,” said Nikhil Patil, GO plc’s CEO.
In a company announcement on Thursday, GO said it had linked up with a Hong Kong-based company for the project.
In its announcement, GO said it had reached agreement with PCCW Global Limited to acquire the title and right of use of submarine and land infrastructure connecting Malta to France and Egypt.