INDIGO subsea cable lands in Perth

19 September 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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The first stage of the INDIGO submarine cable system, called INDIGO West, has been completed linking Christmas Island to Perth cable at Floreat Beach in Perth.

INDIGO West is the first 2,400km section of the entire 9,200km INDIGO system connecting Singapore, Perth and Sydney, with two additional fibre pairs connecting Singapore and Jakarta via a branching unit. It is soon to be followed by the laying of the second section linking Singapore to Indonesia, starting this month and due for completion by the end of December 2018.

“The INDIGO submarine cable will usher in a new era of high speed communications between the growing economies of Southeast Asia and Australia,” said Ooi Seng Keat, vice president of carrier services, group enterprise at Singtel. “This new data superhighway will complement our existing global links to Asia, US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East and allow Singtel and Optus to meet the growing demand for bandwidth-intensive applications as well as boost network diversity and resilience. We look forward to Optus landing the INDIGO Central cable in Sydney in a few months’ time which will further reinforce our position as the leading provider of international connectivity and data services in the region.”

The cable is backed by a consortium of owner operators, which includes AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra. Back in April of last year, the group entered into an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to build the INDIGO cable system, which expected to be completed by mmid-2019. The ASN cable ship, the Ile de Brehat, will be laying the cable.

Once operational the new system will boost connectivity between Australia and Southeast Asia, delivering lower latency and enhance reliability. ASN will deploy coherent optical technology and its two fibre pairs will be able to support a maximum of 36Tbps.

“This is an exciting time for AARNet,” said Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet. “INDIGO is the first in a number of significant investments for research and education in Australia. INDIGO will provide the underpinning critical infrastructure to meet the future growth in collaborative research and transnational education between Australia and our important Asian partners. We are looking forward to the second INDIGO landing in Sydney.”

In addition, the new cable will use new spectrum sharing technology so that each consortium member has the ability to independently make upgrades and advancements for capacity and demand increases.

“The cable will connect to Telstra’s extensive terrestrial network to provide onward connectivity around Australia. Once complete, the cable system will strengthen links between Australia and fast-growing South East Asian markets by providing the fastest speeds and dramatically improved reliability. Our vast subsea network is a key part of our international growth strategy and we will continue to invest in additional capacity to meet the increasing demand for data and maintain our network leadership in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Paul Abfalter, Telstra’s head of North Asia & global wholesale.

At the start of the year Superloop unveiled its plans to fully integrate the INDIGO subsea cable into a number of its metro fibre networks. INDIGO will connect with Superloop’s fibre networks in Singapore, Perth and Sydney, offering PoP to PoP connectivity between over 40 data centres across the three markets.

“We are starting to see the benefits of our investment in infrastructure and software. The three key principles behind Superloop of fibre, wireless and Asia have never looked more compelling, relevant and timely,” said Drew Kelton, CEO of Superloop on behalf of SubPartners.