SingTel – BT

US$300m sub-sea cable by SingTel and partners lands in Japan

SINGAPORE Telecom, Google and other partners are on track for a substantial sub-sea bandwidth boost from the first quarter of next year.

A US$300 million, 9,620km sub-sea cable system funded by a consortium of six companies – Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, Google, KDDI Corp, Pacnet and SingTel – has landed in the Japanese coastal town of Chikura. Construction of the system was announced in February last year.

Linking Japan to the US via the Pacific Ocean, this undersea digital superhighway is expected to be a major boost for its owners, as well as businesses and consumers in bandwidth-hungry Asia.

The cable system will add up to 4.8 terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth between the US and Asia and help its owners meet growing demand for data, e-commerce and Internet traffic between Asia and the US.

It will also serve as an important alternate route to ferry digital traffic in the event of disruptions to other cable systems.

The timing of the Chikura landing shows the consortium – called Unity – is on schedule with construction.

‘The new Unity cable system will enable members of the consortium to deliver increased capacity and more reliable connectivity to support the growth of bandwidth-hungry applications such as video, the growing popularity of cloud computing and to address the rise of digital content travelling between Asia and the United States,’ said Chris Wilson, chairman of the Unity executive committee.

This is the first time since 2004 that SingTel is financing a sub-sea cable-laying project.

In 2004, it joined 15 other companies to build a 20,000km system known as the South East Asia-Middle-East – West Europe 4, or SEA-ME – WE 4.

This venture is also notable for the participation of Internet search giant Google.

Unity’s largest investor Pacnet, which owns the region’s largest private sub- sea cable system EAC-C2C, will link its portion of the new cable system – dubbed EAC Pacific – with the EAC-C2C.

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