Construction on an undersea cable that will stretch to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, carrying telecommunications at up to 10Gbits/sec, will begin this quarter, according to an announcement by Hong Kong Telecommunications Ltd.
More than 70 telecom groups have signed a construction and maintenance agreement for the US$1.3 billion SEA-ME-WE 3 Submarine Cable Network, which is expected to carry commercial traffic starting in March 1999. The initials in the name stand for South East Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe. Stages 1 and 2 of the SEA-ME-WE cabling project have already become crucial to telecommunications development not only in Asia, but in Africa.
Contributing 100 million marks (US$67 million) to the total cost, Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG says it is the largest investor in the project.
The 38,000km network will have 39 landing points on four continents, going ashore in countries including Australia, China, France, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand, the U.K., the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
SEA-ME-WE 3 will be capable of carrying 300,000 phone calls simultaneously, speed up telecom traffic especially in Asia and the Pacific and improve Internet connectivity, Deutsche Telekom said in a statement.
The network will use wavelength multiplexing and Synchronous Digital Hierarchy transmission to carry services such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), videoconferencing and broadband ISDN to more than 3 billion people.