According to Haaretz.com, Israel will soon have a critical place on Google’s expanding global fiber optic network, being a part of Google's Blue-Raman submarine cable connecting India to Italy through Israel. Google's Blue-Raman cable will create a new Europe-Asia connectitivity route with a combination of submarine and terrestrial cables connecting Asia and Europe across Israel and several Arab countries, bypassing Egypt.
The Blue-Raman is named after the Indian Nobel Prize laureate Venkata Raman.
According to a report by Amitai Ziv of Haaretz.com, Google's Blue-Raman cable system will consist of two portions. The Raman half of the cable will start in the Indian port city of Mumbai, run beneath the Indian Ocean and overland across an unnamed country, presumed to be Saudi Arabia, before ending at the Jordanian port of Aqaba.The Blue portion of the cable will begin in the Italian port of Genoa, continue beneath the Mediterranean, cross through Israel and end in Aqaba where it will link up with the Raman cable. The fact that the Blue-Raman cable is split into two is not related to technology but to geopolitics, so as not to give the impression that the “Israeli” part of the cable is crossing through Saudi territory.
It is said Google is partnering with Telecom Italia Sparkle for the Blue portion and Omantel for the Raman portion. The Blue-Raman cable will cost about US$400 million, and is expected to reach Israel in 2022.
There are now three subsea cables connecting Israel to the world, One of the cables belongs to Israeli telecom company Bezeq. The second, older cable is operated by Telecom Italia’s MedNautilus, which handles most of Israel’s non-Bezeq web traffic. The third is controlled by Israeli company Tamares Telecom, which serves smaller internet companies and provides backup for the others. It is said the usage is in the single-digit percentages.
The Blue-Raman cable is a creative route connecting Asia and Eruope via Israel and Jordan, bypassing the crowded Egypt route.
Currently, almost all the submarine cables from Asia to Europe are running across Egypt, from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Technically, the crowded Egypt route increases the risk of cable fault and concerns on network resilience, the shallow water in Suez Canal makes subsea cables through this region vulnerable. On the other hand, Egypt is criticized for its high charges on the right of way for subsea cables passing through Egypt, which is said to be about US$300 million per cable, according to the number in Haaretz's report. Although this number is wrong and misled by irresponsible source, the charge by Egypt does increase cost for cables and circuits passing through Egypt.