New Asia-Europe cable will link 12 countries

A consortium of telecommunication carriers will build a 1.28T bps (bits per second) fibre-optic cable stretching from Indonesia to France, linking 10 other countries on the way, the consortium announced Wednesday.

The proposed South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable will run through Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates, according to a statement issued by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), one of the consortium partners.

The cable is being built to avoid an anticipated telecommunication capacity bottleneck between Southeast Asia and Europe, with the existing 40G bps SEA-ME-WE 3 cable and the 10G bps Flag Europe-Asia (FEA) cable becoming increasingly saturated, SingTel said.

SEA-ME-WE 4 will be built using DWDM (dense wave-division multiplexing) technology, which increases data-carrying capacity by enabling over 100 optical carrier frequencies, or wavelengths, to be carried on a single fiber.

The consortium investing in the cable includes SingTel, Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, Bharti Telesonic Ltd., Emirates Telecommunications Corp., France Telecom SA, Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd., Perusahaan Perseroan PT Indonesian Satelite Corp. (Indosat), Saudi Telecom Co., Srilanka Telecom Ltd. (SLT), Telecom Egypt, Telecom Italia SpA, Telekom Malaysia Bhd. and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

As well as increasing bandwidth between Asia and Europe, the new cable should provide redundancy in case of cable failures. SEA-ME-WE 3 has suffered several breaks in the last few years due to shipping damage and natural disasters, cutting off or impeding Internet access for users in several Asian countries.