SEA-ME-WE 4 splashes down

The underwater submarine cable linking Singapore to France is operational, with hopes that it will eventually provide a data transfer rate of 1.28 Tera bits per second.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  December 14, 2005

SEA-ME-WE-4, the underwater cable connecting South East Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe, has been inaugurated in Dubai with a lavish reception. The SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable connects France and Singapore, spanning almost 20,000 km. Completed in 18 months, it relies on 16 landing points, linking together 14 countries. Alcatel and Fujitsu were the contractors for the deployment. Designed to last 25 years with full reliability, SEA-ME-WE 4 has 32 times the initial capacity of SEA-ME-WE 3, which was installed in 1998. Greeting the guests, Etisalat Deputy CEO Nasser Bin Obood, spoke of the technical merits of SEA-ME-WE 4. “The new ultra-fast cable will multiply the existing data transfer rate and is expected to ultimately reach 1.28 Tera bits per second,” he said. 1.28 Tera bit per second is equivalent to simultaneously conducting over 15 million telephone calls. The 16 companies that form the SEA-ME-WE 4 consortium are Algeria Telecom, Bharti Tele Ventures of India, Bangladesh Telecom, Telecom Thailand, France Telecom, MCI, Pakistan Telecom, Singapore Telecom, Sri Lankan Telecom, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telecom Malaysia, Tunisia Telecom, VSNL of India and the UAE’s Etisalat. Bin Obood welcomed representatives of each operator on stage, including the CEO of PTCL who appeared to show no ill-feelings despite Etisalat’s ongoing saga over the privatisation of the Pakistani incumbent. Guests at the event were treated to an extravagant and lengthy laser show, accompanied by a musical medley that to the trained ear sounded somewhat like the themes from Jurassic Park and Back To The Future.

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