Australia to get Asian connection with A2A

Pursuing a strategy of owning its own regional submarine backbone network, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) is planning a new cable called A2A to link Singapore, Jakarta and Perth, Australia.

The 4,600-kilometer A2A cable may be built as a joint venture with other companies in a similar way to the US$2 billion C2C cable, which is operated by a separate consortium called C2C Pte. Ltd. A2A will tie into the C2C cable network and the 8.4T bits per second (bps) i2i cable which links Singapore and the cities of Chennai and Mumbai in India, C2C executives said at the CommunicAsia show here Thursday.

By connecting to an existing fiber-optic cable across Australia owned by SingTel's local unit Optus, the A2A cable will tie Australia's main business centers, Sydney and Melbourne, into SingTel's pan-Asian network.

The DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) A2A cable, with an capacity of 1.92T bps, will be Australia's first terabit-class connection with Asia, and will provide an alternative traffic route to the SEA-ME-WE3 cable which currently carries around 60 percent of the country's overseas Internet traffic and which has been damaged several times in the past two years.

C2C executives said they had not finalized the timing of the cable's construction.

SingTel is also planning to extend the 7.68T bps capacity of C2C, with a spur almost ready to connect Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to the backbone. Another spur, planned to land at the Malaysian town of Mersing, is waiting for SingTel to either gain a telecommunication license in Malaysia or find a local partner, C2C executives said.

The 17,000-kilometer C2C cable consists of two intra-Asian rings connecting Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and China and also provides capacity between Japan and the United States.

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