Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) and the Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) have signed an agreement to increase internet capacity by upgrading the UGARIT submarine cable link between Tartous in Syria and Pentaskhinos in Cyprus. The state-owned Syrian PTO is planning to increase broadband and dial-up internet take-up and earlier this year announced ambitious plans to invest upwards of USD1.5 billion over the next five years to expand its landline network to rural areas. STE’s agreement with Cyta stipulates securing a larger internet capacity to help meet requirements in Syria, whilst the two telcos also agreed to initiate feasibility studies for establishing a second undersea fibre-optic link between their countries. The 239km UGARIT cable launched operations in 1995, and its design transmission capacity is limited to 622Mbps.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, STE’s fixed line network had 3.45 million lines in service at the end of 2007, up 6% year-on-year, while the number of internet subscribers grew 20% from 340,000 to 425,000. Cypriot counterpart Cyta’s network provides international connectivity for government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus via six submarine cable systems. Alternative Cypriot telco PrimeTel is preparing to launch the country’s seventh undersea cable link via a deal with India’s Reliance.