Vodafone Group, United Arab Emirates-based Du and Kuwaiti companies Zain and Zajil have formed a consortium for the rollout of a 1,400km fibre-optic cable system in the Gulf. The Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS) will stretch from Kuwait to the UAE, via Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, with an initial capacity of 200Gbps. A press release from the consortium states that a 100G optical transport network (OTN) will be built on top of a terrestrial fibre-optic cable to sustain the growing bandwidth demand of the region. Du will be the landing party in the UAE, Vodafone in Qatar, Zain in Saudi Arabia and Zajil in Bahrain and Kuwait. MEETS is designed to be an economically and technically competitive alternative for connectivity within the Gulf; it will also enable a terrestrial route to Europe for reduced latency and higher reliability. Carriers will be able to access MEETS from the Fujairah Landing Station or at the Datamena carrier neutral hub in the UAE. Scott Gegenheimer, CEO at Zain Group, commented: ‘Through the creation of MEETS, we will bring a higher quality of data connectivity and content to our customers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Providing an unsurpassed internet experience will help Zain to retain and attract new customers as well as complement our LTE 4G expansion strategy and support our planned rollout of dynamic enterprise services to corporate clients.’ MEETS is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2014.