A consortium of 16 Asian and European telecommunications carriers are to build a 1.28Tbps submarine cable linking 14 countries between Singapore and France, the consortium announced Monday in a statement.

The 20,000-kilometre Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable will have 16 landing points in 14 countries — France, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

The SEA-ME-WE 4 cable, which will be built using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology with Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) transmission from Alcatel SA, will complement the existing SEA-ME-WE 3 cable which is nearing full capacity, the consortium said. It is expected to cost US$500 million to build, one-third the US$1.5 billion cost of SEA-ME-WE 3 because of falling prices for telecommunications equipment.

Carriers involved in the project include Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, Bharti Telesonic, Emirates Telecommunications Corp., France T