The “I-ME-WE” cable is a new 12,000-kilometer submarine cable system that comprises three optical fibre cable pairs, connecting France to India via the Middle East.
Its design capacity is 3.84 Terabits per second and its planned land touchpoint in Lebanon will be in Tripoli (although the map shows Saida)
Compare that capacity with the capacity of the other two submarine cables already operating in Lebanon:
- BERYTAR (134 km) connecting Tartous in Syria to Beirut (5 Gbps) operating since 1997.
- CADMOS (230 km) connecting Pentaskhinos in Cyprus to Beirut (622 Mbps) operating since 1995.
According to a press release from the Telecom Ministry in Beirut, stalled progress on the I-ME-WE cable (and decent Internet access in Lebanon) comes from a “delayed installation of one of the links in Egypt. [Minister Charbel Nahhas] said: We have raised this issue during a visit from the Egyptian Prime Minister to Beirut. We expect to complete this work in the month of August, but no guarantees.”
The installation of the Egyptian link is said to be delayed by the Egyptian Army Intelligence who wants access to and control of all the switches and terminals – and therefore all data passing through them – associated with the cable on Egyptian soil.
The latest rumour in the telecom industry is that the launch will finally happen in September during a festival in BIEL.
What is yet to be determined is if the internal broadband capacity in Lebanon will handle the additional bandwidth.