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Malaysia and Singapore Join New Global Fibre Consortium

At the start of this week, both Telekom Malaysia (TM) and Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) revealed in their own press announcements that they are part of a consortium that is tasked with the rollout of the all-new Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) submarine cable system.

Credit: TM

For TM, the arrangement became official when it signed a construction and maintenance agreement with the consortium.

“Our investment in SEA-ME-WE 6 will allow us to address our capacity requirements to cater for increasing future digital demand across Asia and Europe while continuing to provide reliable, diversified and uninterrupted global connectivity solutions to customers. It will also allow TM to support the deployment of (hyper-scale) data centres as well as the future requirements of 5G network in the country,” said Imri Mokhtar, Group CEO, TM.

The SEA-ME-WE 6 submarine cable will link up with TM’s newest cable landing station in Morib. Its strategic proximity to the Klang Valley, which is close to many of these data centres, positions it as a key cable landing site for Malaysia.

In Singtel’s case, it had started planning and designing the SEA-ME-WE 6 cable more than two years ago, having anticipated the rising demand for reliable, high speed and low latency connectivity led by global digitalisation.

“With this new cable system, our partners will be able to meet and exceed capacity demands across multiple regions. (To achieve this, this new) system encompasses some of the most advanced transmission technologies in the world and (is expected to) improve access to services for everyone along this route,” added Yue Meng Fai, Chairperson, SEA-ME-WE 6 Management Committee and Senior Director, Consortium Cable Engineering, Singtel.

Credit: Singtel

This new network will connect the European landing point in Marseille, France to a similar fibre trunk system at Tuas, Singapore. Promising connection speeds of up to 100 terabytes per second, this 19,200km submarine cable will cut across multiple continents, including Europe; the Middle East and India; and Southeast Asia.

For comparison’s sake, the predecessor system that rolled out in 2016 – the SEA-ME-WE 5 – only offers 24-terabits per sec in terms of bandwidth capacity.

The SEA-ME-WE 6 system will also provide an additional layer of "diversity and resilience for high traffic density route between Asia and Europe” and further strengthen the overall network of each consortium partner. For TM and Singtel, this sense of added flexibility will ensure they can rapidly scale the capacities of their service offerings and, at the same time, proactively protect data traffic from unforeseen faults.

The map for the upcoming submarine cable system. Credit: TM/Singtel

Besides TM and Singtel, other major telco players that are participating include Indonesia’s PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin); Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company; Bharti Airtel from India; Maldives-based Dhiraagu; Middle East’s Djibouti Telecom and Mobily; Orange from France; Sri Lanka Telecom; Telecom Egypt; and Pakistan’s Trans World Associates.

Other key players that are not part of the submarine trunk route include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global Limited, China Unicom and Microsoft.

  • TM, Singtel and Indonesia's Telin will be a part of the development for a new submarine cable system

  • Rolling across half the world, it will connects Southeast Asia with multiple countries, namely Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Oman, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France

  • The SEA-ME-WE 6 system will allow the group to address fast-growing digital demands across Asia and Europe

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