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Indigo subsea cable lands in Perth

Cable system will utilise new spectrum sharing technology, so each consortium member can take advantage of technology advancements to support growing demand for bandwidth

The Indigo submarine cable that will connect Australia with Southeast Asia when ready has been laid at Floreat Beach in Perth, Western Australia, marking the completion of its first section, which spans 2,400km from Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean.

The laying of the second section of the cable, linking Singapore and Indonesia, will start this month and is expected to be completed by the end of December 2018.

The entire subsea cable, which is being built by a six-member consortium including Singtel, Telstra and Google, spans 9,000km, connecting Singapore and Perth, and onward to Sydney.

“The Indigo submarine cable will usher in a new era of high-speed communications between the growing economies of Southeast Asia and Australia,” said Ooi Seng Keat, vice-president for carrier services at Singtel’s enterprise group.

“This new data superhighway will complement our existing global links to Asia, the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East and will allow Singtel and Optus to meet the growing demand for bandwidth-intensive applications, as well as boost network diversity and resilience.

Once operational by mid-2019, Indigo is expected to strengthen links between Australia and Southeast Asia, providing lower latency and enhanced reliability. Using today’s optical technology, the cable’s two-fibre pairs will be able to support up to 36 terabits per second, the equivalent of simultaneously streaming millions of movies per second.

The Indigo system will also utilise new spectrum- sharing technology, so each consortium member can independently take advantage of technology advancements for future upgrades and capacity increases on demand.

Read more about internet infrastructure in APAC

The Asia-Pacific region is currently served by a number of subsea cable systems – although cuts to major cables such as the ageing SEA-ME-WE 3 have affected internet services in recent years.

In late 2016, SEA-ME-WE 3 failed because of a cable cut 1,125km away from the Singapore Tuas Cable Station, affecting the primary core network path between Singapore and Perth. This followed several cuts to the same cable – typically caused by ship anchors and earthquakes in the region – between 2013 and 2015.

Industry observers have noted that Indigo will provide additional capacity to not only mitigate outages, but also to offer more connectivity choices for telcos and cloud service providers.

The fact that Google is part of the Indigo consortium is also indicative of the cloud giant’s efforts to deliver higher service levels. Rather than rely on third-party telcos to provide the links between its datacentres, Google would be able to do so on its own and obtain guaranteed bandwidth at a more predictable cost.

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