Egypt, Jordan ink agreement for 'Coral Bridge' submarine cable linking Aqaba, Taba

Mohamed Hamouda , Thursday 25 Jan 2024

Egypt and Jordan signed on Thursday a cooperation agreement to establish their first joint submarine cable in 25 years, dubbed "Coral Bridge." The cable will serve as a vital communication link between the Jordanian city of Aqaba and the Egyptian city of Taba, establishing robust digital infrastructure between the two countries.

Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and Jordan's Ambassador to Egypt Amjad Adaileh witnessing on Thursday the signing of a cooperation agreement to establish Egypt and Jordan's first connecting submarine cable in 25 years. Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Communications

The agreement was signed between Telecom Egypt (WE), Egypt’s first integrated telecommunications operator and one of the largest submarine cable operators in the region, and NaiTel, a telecommunications service provider in Jordan and the communication arm of the Aqaba Digital Hub.

Egypt’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat and Jordan's Ambassador to Egypt Amjad Adaileh attended the signing ceremony.

The new submarine cable, spanning the Gulf of Aqaba, will enhance the geographical competitive advantages of Egypt, as a key international transit point between the east and west, and Jordan as a primary transit point for the Levant, Iraq, and Gulf states, serving as a secondary convergence point between Asia and Europe.

Talaat said the new cable will enhance bilateral relations in the field of communications and information technology.

The project aligns with Egypt’s initiatives to bolster its international digital infrastructure and status as a regional data corridor, he added.

The goal is to optimize the utilization of Egypt's exceptional geographical location, positioning it as a prominent convergence point for submarine internet cables globally, the minister noted.

Mohamed Nasr, CEO of WE, said the name Coral Bridge was chosen due to the distinctive coral reefs of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The new infrastructure between Taba and Aqaba will be a crucial gateway for international communications between Asia, Africa, and Europe, and a new focal point in Sinai’s Taba, where several submarine cables are planned to land.

In May 2023, Telecom Egypt announced the completion of the second and final landing in Egypt of the 2Africa subsea internet cable, the world’s longest undersea communications cable.

In October 2023, TE signed an agreement with the Medusa Submarine Cable System to extend the Mediterranean network to the Red Sea by the end of 2025.

Egypt’s investments in developing the network of internet submarine cables amounted to $600 million in 2023 with annual revenues expected to amount to $250 million, according to Talaat.

Advantages of Coral Bridge:

  • The cable links Aqaba, Jordan, to Taba, Egypt, fostering strong infrastructural ties between the two countries.
  • Engineered with top-tier specifications, it's a flagship project with a competitive edge, thanks to its short distance and a wealth of optical fibers.
  • This cable enhances international traffic capabilities, meeting the rising demands for AI applications and data centres.
  • The project contributes to Egypt's role as a primary gateway for east-to-west international traffic and Jordan's position as a hub for the Levant, Iraq, and Gulf countries.
  • It provides alternative routes to Europe through Egypt's unique infrastructure and the Aqaba Digital Hub, serving as a neutral hub for global content providers and operators.
  • This connection benefits the Jordanian and adjacent markets, offering integrated solutions from Aqaba to Europe.
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