UPDATE: Consortium formed to build SEA-ME-WE 5 subsea cable

07 March 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


Following the signing ceremony for the SEA-ME-WE-5 cable in Malaysia last Friday, Capacity was saddened to learn that a group of telecoms executives may have been on board the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Our thoughts are with those families affected at this difficult time.

A consortium of telcos have come together to build an undersea cable connecting south east Asia to the Middle East and western Europe.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system – which is expected to start carrying commercial traffic by early 2016 – will connect 17 countries and span approximately 20,000km.

The new system is designed to alleviate the dependence on existing cables and allow greater voice and data traffic between regions.

“It will ease the strain on the heavily-loaded networks that connect western Europe, the Middle East and south east Asia, as well as offer an extra layer of network diversity," consortium member Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), announced in a statement.

Consortium members include SingTel, China Mobile, China Telecommunications, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications, Orange, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Saudi Telecom Company and Telekom Malaysia.

"Submarine cables are key to global communications and connectivity, overcoming distance and physical borders. Today, 95% of the world's voice, video and data traffic is transmitted via subsea data highways,” said Bill Chang, CEO, SingTel Group Enterprise.

“With significant growth in data traffic in recent years, SEA-ME-WE 5 will address the urgent need for a new-generation data superhighway to cater to the increasing demand for next-generation internet applications,” he added.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium reportedly plans on signing the construction and maintenance agreement in Malaysia this month.