Four GCC states have finalised a plan to install a fibre-optic submarine cable interconnecting their networks, the Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) announced on 25 July. The network is due for completion in late 1996 and will connect Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

Batelco said that representatives from the four states had been meeting regularly over the past 18 months to agree on the project’s technical details. Known as fibre optic Gulf (FOG), it will use state-of-the-art fibre-optic submarine technology. The links it provides to each country will be both direct and independent. Each link will be able to carry 60,480 voice channels at any one time.

‘This project clearly indicates the commitment of the Gulf states to prepare for future telecommunications needs,’ Batelco general manager Andrew Hearn said. ‘FOG will be a milestone in the field of regional co- operation for the benefit of the peoples of this region.’

Through FOG, the four states will also be connected to the planned fibre- optic link around the globe (Flag) scheme. This will run from the UK to Japan, via 15 states.