Sparkle has announced the landing of the BlueMed submarine cable in Palermo, Italy.
The company, which is the submarine cable unit of Telecom Italia (TIM), confirmed the completion of the laying of the Genoa-Golfo Aranci-Pomezia-Palermo Tyrrhenian section this week.
The announcement was provided at a press conference held by Roberto Lagalla, Mayor of Palermo, ambassador Riccardo Guariglia, secretary general of MAECI, and Enrico Bagnasco, CEO of Sparkle.
This BlueMed cable will connect Italy with France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Oman, and is part of the Blue Submarine Cable System (Blue-Raman) project which was built in partnership with Google and other operators as part of a $400 million investment to connect France with India.
The cable system was named after Indian Nobel Prize laureate Venkata Raman, when it was announced in 2020, with the Omantel cable starting in Mumbai and traveling across the Indian Ocean and overland across an unidentified country, before ending at the Jordanian port of Aqaba.
At Aqaba, Raman then links with the Blue portion of the cable developed by Sparkle, which runs up through Israel, along the Mediterranean to Genoa, Italy.
BlueMed comes with four fiber pairs and an initial design capacity of more than 25 Terabits per second (Tbps) per pair.
Laying of the cable began in January of this year with the branch to Sardinia (Golfo Aranci), and continued between February and March with the shore ends in Pomezia, on the coast of Rome, and in Genoa.
It continues from Genoa southwards to Palermo where it proceeds through the Strait of Messina and the Mediterranean Sea down to the Red Sea.
Sparkle said it expects the first section, Genoa-Golfo Aranci-Pomezia-Palermo, to be operational by the end of May, while the further extension to Bastia, Corsica, will be completed in autumn.
The company notes that from the landing point in Palermo, the cable will travel towards the Sicily Hub neutral data center, which is the 'most effective Internet exchange point in the Mediterranean' due to its proximity to Africa and the Middle East, according to Sparkle.
"With the landing of BlueMed in Palermo, we complete the laying of the Tyrrhenian section of one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world while reinforcing Sicily's centrality in the global Internet system," said Bagnasco.
"Thanks to BlueMed, the Sicily Hub in Palermo is set for further expansion and growth, confirming itself as a strategic asset for the country's digitization and a key hub for data traffic in the Mediterranean region."
In 2017, a consortium of European technology companies, including Eolo, Equinix Italia, Fastweb, In-Site, Interoute, Italtel, MIX, Retelit, SUPERNAP Italia, VueTel Italia, and XMED opened a 1,000 square meter (10,760 sq ft) data center in Palermo.
The Open Hub Med (OHM) project was developed to capitalize on the presence of several submarine cable landing stations in the immediate vicinity, offering colocation and advanced networking services.
Prior to this in 2015, DE-CIX launched an Internet exchange in Sicily to improve the flow of traffic between the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The DE-CIX Palermo is located in the ‘Sicily Hub’ - and is a 2,000 square feet data center owned by Sparkle.