12 of Asia’s most important submarine cable projects

12 of Asia’s most important submarine cable projects

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Massive growth in connectivity demand in Asia has led to increased capacity requirements, and construction of submarine and subsea cables is growing to meet this demand. An estimated $2.6 billion worth of current and future submarine cable projects are planned for completion by 2025 – here are profiles of 12 of the most important.

Southeast Asia-Japan Cable 2 (SJC2)

Length: 10,500km

Estimated completion: 2024

Route map

Adding extra capacity to the route served by the first SJC, which was completed in 2013, this new edition of the cable was announced in 2018 and will follow a similar route to its predecessor from Singapore to Japan. Additional branches will run to South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the southern tip of Thailand, with eight fibre pairs offering a total capacity of 144Tbps.

The cable was originally planned to enter service in 2024, but as Nikkei Asia reports, slow regulatory approval is holding up work on SJC2, which will be one of many cables to pass through the South China Sea.


Length: 19,200km

Estimated completion: 2025

The SEA-ME-WE 6 cable, which will run from Singapore to France, is the latest subsea cable to be laid along a route with a long history – a 22-operator consortium completed work on SEA-ME-WE 1 in 1985, making it one of the longest in the world at the time.

This sixth version of the cable will span 19,200km, cost around $500 million to complete, and is scheduled for completion in 2025. Its two subsea components will run from Singapore to Ras Ghareb in Egypt and then from Port Said to Marseille. In terms of technical make-up, the cable will run 10 fibre pairs at 12.6Tbps per pair, with potential for up to 24 fibre pairs per line to be added in future.

China Telecom and China Mobile withdrew from the project relatively early in its planning phase amid reports of a new Europe-Middle-East-Asia cable running a similar route, although China Unicom remains involved in SEA-ME-WE 6.


Length: 19,800km

Scheduled completion: 2024

Route map

Spanning nearly 20,000km and adding further Asia-US capacity, Bifrost is one of two trans-Pacific submarine cables with Meta in the line-up, the other being the Echo system. Built in consortium with Telin, AMCS and Keppel, Bifrost will include twelve fibre pairs with a current capacity of 10.4Tbps.

Bifrost is one of several planned cable projects either designed or rerouted to avoid the South China Sea. This rerouting adds a considerable amount to project costs – not just through the extra mileage required, but the shallower waters along the new routes require stronger cable armouring to avoid cuts and subsequent service outages.



Length: 17,100km

Estimated completion: 2024

Route map

A joint undertaking between Meta and Google, Echo would be the first direct subsea connection between Singapore and the US once it reaches its scheduled completion in 2024.

Spanning over 17,000km, it will include spurs to Palau and Guam and provide additional traffic availability to Singapore’s at-capacity data centre processing power. On the Google side, the system will help to support Google Cloud Platform users in the Asia region, where cloud computing use by business, government and end users shows no sign of slowing down.


Length: 11,900km

Estimated completion: 2024

Route map

Apricot is another Google-involved subsea project in Asia, this time focusing on inter-Asian connection by running a 190Tbps link between Singapore and Japan via Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Guam. The other consortium members are Chunghwa Telecom, Meta, NTT and PDLT. Apricot is a further example of a submarine cable project routed to avoid the South China Sea.

Asia Link Cable

Length: 6,000km

Scheduled completion: 2025

Route map

The $300 million, 6,000km and 18Tbps Asia Link Cable, by contrast, is planned to run directly through the South China Sea, built by a pan-Asian consortium including Singtel, China Telecom Global, CTC, Global Telecom, DITO and Unified National Networks.

Announced in 2022, the project is scheduled for completion by 2025. According to one of the cable’s co-chairs Chang Weiguo, ALC was managed from MoA to construction stage with zero face-to-face meetings between consortium participants – definitely a submarine cable for the post-Covid era.

Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN)

Length: 2,500km

Scheduled completion: 2023

Route map


Not all of Asia’s submarine cable activity is focused on providing routes to and from Europe and the US. There is also vital work going on to connect underserved routes and areas, and the Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network is a good example of that.

Built by Eastern Telecom, Globe Telecom and Infinivan, the project connects 33 landing points all over the Philippines, reaching every province in the country and providing vital connectivity to remote and rural areas. Construction is currently in its final stages, with Globe Telecom reporting in January that completion was scheduled for April 2023, although no announcements have been made to date.

Asia Connect Cable-1 (ACC-1)

Length: 19,000km

Scheduled completion: 2025/26

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The Asia Connect Cable-1 project is another planned link between Singapore and the west coast of the United States, spanning 19,000km and scheduled for completion in 2026. Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison and Inligo Networks have combined to work on the cable, which will provide 256Tbps through 16 fibre pairs.

The Asian side of the ACC-1 route passes further south than other important trans-Pacific subsea projects currently in the planning and construction process, with a branch to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. The project will also provide additional capacity to eastern areas of Indonesia and East Timor, as well as other destinations – landing stations are also planned for Batam, Jakarta, Davao, Makassar, Dili, Darwin, Manado, Guam and Los Angeles. On the Australian side, ACC-1 is planned to continue terrestrially to Adelaide via the Unite cable.

Hawaiki Nui

Length: 26,000km

Scheduled completion: 2025

Route map

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The longest cable in this list, the enormous Hawaiki Nui cable will connect New Zealand, Los Angeles and Singapore via 25,000km of new capacity that roughly follows the route of the existing Hawaiki cable that launched in 2018. Hawaiki Nui will include several branches to locations in the Pacific, including a 2,000km route to French Polynesia and additional spurs to American Samoa and Hawaii.


Length: 11,700km

Scheduled completion: 2024

Route map

Built to meet the extra demand placed on existing routes by the growth of 5G in particular in Japan, the Juno cable system will be built by an NTT-led consortium to connect Japan and California. Capacity will be hefty – up to 20 fibre pairs and a maximum throughput of 350Tbps, the largest of all the cables in this list – and flexibility is designed into the construction, with wavelength selective switch functionality allowing remote bandwidth alteration of each of the two routes on the cable.

India Asia Xpress

Length: 5,700km

Scheduled completion: 2023

Route map

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Southeast Asia is an important and many-cabled connectivity hub, but far fewer submarine cables run west from Singapore to India than north-east to China, Japan and beyond. The India AsiaXpress project from Reliance Jio Infocomm is an example of a new project to provide extra capacity and performance on this route, connecting Mumbai and Chennai to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Together with the India-Europe-Xpress partner system, India-Asia-Xpress will offer 200Tbps of capacity on the route. The cable landed in Sri Lanka in April 2023 and is on track to meet its scheduled completion date.


Length: not published

Scheduled for completion: 2023

Route map


When it is completed in 2023, Google’s planned Topaz trans-Pacific cable system will be the first cable to offer a direct route from Japan to Canada (all other submarine cables across the Pacific land in the US instead). 16 fibre pairs with 240Tbps total capacity will run from Ibaraki and Mie in Japan to Vancouver in Canada via Port Alberni.

Route, length, consortium and ready for service (RFS) information for all cables taken from TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map

Want to hear about Asia’s submarine cable situation directly from the people driving it? The Capacity Asia event in Singapore (12-13 December 2013) has a strong focus on Asian subsea – take a look at the agenda and who you can meet at the event

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