New 18Tbps cable to connect Singapore, Indonesia and Australia

06 April 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Australian company Superloop has acquired subsea cable operator Subpartners and has announced plans to build a new cable linking Singapore and Indonesia with Australia.

Subsea cableThe new cable, Indigo, will be owned by a consortium with AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel and Telstra. Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will build the cable, expected to be complete by mid-2019.

“The delivery of secure, reliable and high-speed connectivity between Singapore and Sydney has been the core focus of SubPartners since its inception,” said company CEO Bevan Slattery. The cable will “provide Australia with a new diverse international route into south east Asia”, he added.

Indigo will be 9,000km long, connecting existing facilities in Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, where it will land in Perth and Sydney. Each of the two fibre pairs will have a minimum capacity of 18Tbps.

Alexander Rusli, president director and CEO of Indosat Ooredoo, said: “Indigo’s consortium is a strategic and crucial partnership for Indosat Ooredoo that will help provide the digital services needed by Indonesian society. High-speed network infrastructure availability, both into and out of Indonesia, is important for business and personal consumers in Indonesia to be able to connect to global content.”

Both Singtel – which owns Australian operator Optus – and Telstra are members of the consortium. 

David Burns, Telstra’s group managing director of global services and international, said: “With internet data consumption growing by 70% in Asia last year alone these sorts of investments in international networks are critical for meeting the needs of connected consumers and businesses.”

Ooi Seng Keat, Singtel’s vice president, carrier services, group enterprise, said, “The construction of Indigo is timely to meet the rising demand for high-speed broadband between Asia and Australia. This cable system complements our global connectivity that links Asia, the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.”

Slattery provided more details of the SubPartners acquisition, for just $2.5 million. “We are very excited by the prospect of offering customers a fully meshed pan-Asian network, connecting the existing metropolitan networks which we own and operate,” he said. “Once the cables are complete, we will have even more capacity to meet growing customer demand across the region.”

Superloop said that it will be able to configure and expand its cable capacity, independently of the other consortium members, allowing it to offer Singapore to Perth, Perth to Sydney and Singapore to Sydney routes to match customer requirements. 

Slattery owns 80% of the issued capital of SubPartners. If shareholders approve the issue of shares to Slattery, his holding in Superloop will increase from 28.8% to approximately 29.1%. If shareholders do not approve the issue of shares to him, he will be paid cash consideration equivalent to $2 million. 

Superloop owns and operates over 540km of fibre networks in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, connecting over 70 data centres. In Hong Kong, Superloop has established a 110km fibre network to initially connect 30 strategic sites including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange data centre. 

The company also constructed TKO Express, the first submarine cable to connect the traditional carrier hotels located in Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island and the data centre campus located at Hong Kong Science and Technology Park’s Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate on the mainland.