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New cable to connect Middle East

A proposed undersea cable is to connect the Middle East with Asia and Europe, providing extra bandwidth on this busy route.

A group of international telecommunications carriers has agreed to construct a new submarine cable linking the Middle East with Asia and Europe.

The catchily titled South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable project will connect 12 countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the UAE.

The proposed cable will have a capacity of 1.28 terabits per second and is designed to provide extra bandwidth to compliment the already saturated cables along the route.

The partners in the consortium are: Singapore Telecommunications Company (SingTel), Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, Bharti Telesonic, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, France Telecom, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, PT Indosat, Saudi Telecom, Srilanka Telecom Limited (SLT), Telecom Egypt, Telecom Italia S.p.A, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited.

Though several major cable companies, such as Global Crossing, have struggled in recent months, the consortium believes that the time is right to begin work on this project.

“Though the current market situation might not seem conducive to embark on this project, this is the opportune time for us to gather like-minded partners to plan and build a network to ease the expected bandwidth bottleneck between Asia and Europe. By working with reputable partners, we will have strong bargaining power with the cable suppliers, and expect to achieve substantial cost savings,” says Lim Shyong, executive vice president of SingTel.

“This potential investment is in line with our strategy to build and operate a world-class telecoms infrastructure. Looking ahead, we believe the new cable will be in a prime position to capture a sizable share of traffic between Asia, the Middle East and Europe when market conditions improve.”

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