EIG cable, from Europe to India via Africa

It is one of the main cables among those that unite the old continent and Europe. Its journey retraces one of the oldest routes of connection but looks to the future, preparing to cope with a growth in data traffic between the two continents of 38% a year.

The Euro-Asian backbone

15,000 kilometres in length, 12 landing points in 11 countries, 3 continents affected, $ 700 million spent to make it happen, 3.84 terabits per second of capacity. These are the numbers of EIG, an acronym that identifies the “Europe – India Gateway”, one of the most important cables that make up the submarine network in which virtually all the internet traffic in the world travels. The line traces the journey of one of the historic lines of connection between the old continent and the East, actually founded over 130 years ago.

EIG begins its journey in Bude, UK, and is brought to Mumbai, in India; in the middle it makes a stop in some of the most significant hubs of Europe, such as Marseilles (France), and North Africa, such as Tripoli (Libya), and Alexandria and Zafarana (Egypt).

An eye to the future

The construction of EIG was entrusted to Alcatel Lucent and TE Subcom and now the cable is operated by a consortium of 18 companies operating in the telecommunications sector. The infrastructure was completed in mid-2010 and was officially in business a few months later, in February 2011, becoming the cable with the most extensive bandwidth among those that unite Europe and Asia. Its implementation has allowed us to diversify the “routes” connecting the two continents, increasing safety and reliability. In addition, over time, it has been further implemented to meet the expected growth in traffic volumes, which are estimated to increase at a rate of 38% a year. Characteristics and location, then, assign to the “Europe – India Gateway” a central role in the international network, so much so that, in 2013, its breakage (probably due to sabotage that affected two other cables) led to a sharp slowdown of the connections in Europe and Asia.