Singtel, China Telecom Global to lead undersea cable consortium

New Asia Link Cable system will connect Hong Kong and Singapore with the Philippines, Brunei, and Hainan in China

Singtel and China Telecom Global will lead a new consortium to build a $300m submarine cable system that will connect Hong Kong and Singapore with the Philippines, Brunei, and Hainan in China.

Dubbed the Asia Link Cable (ALC) system, the 6,000km cable is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2025 together with four other regional carriers – China Telecom, Globe Telecom, Dito Telecommunity and Unified National Networks.

Demand for high-bandwidth, low-latency, and high-redundancy internet connectivity is burgeoning in Southeast Asia with the region’s digital economy forecast to expand to $363bn by 2025, fuelled by growth in e-commerce and other digital services.

The ALC has eight fibre pairs that can transmit up to 18 terabits per second (Tbps) per fibre pair, the equivalent of downloading more than 2,500 hours of ultra-high-definition video per second.

It will also adopt an open cable system design that will reduce the dependency on any single provider consortium partner and enable timely capacity upgrades to cater to evolving carrier requirements.

Bill Chang, CEO of Singtel’s group enterprise and regional datacentre business, noted that the ALC will bring “greater connectivity capacities to transform industries, unlock more opportunities for innovation, further enhancing the digital experiences of Southeast Asian consumers and supporting the growth ambitions of the region.”

When ready, the ALC is expected to augment Singtel’s submarine cable infrastructure and draw businesses in the region to tap Singtel’s network and datacentre capabilities.

Submarine cables are critical information infrastructure. With no viable alternatives at this time, almost 100% of all international data traffic that companies consume is transported and routed daily via such undersea cables laid on the ocean floor.

Singtel is one of the most technically experienced in constructing subsea cable systems, with its long history and expertise in pioneering some of the earliest submarine cable investments in the region.

Besides the ALC, it is also involved in the construction of the 19,200km Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 6 (SEA-ME-WE 6) submarine cable system connecting multiple countries between Singapore and France that is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.

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