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4500 Leagues Under The Sea

Cap’n Slattery brings Telstra, Singtel on board for new cable.

SYDNEY – After many starts and fizzes, undersea cable entrepreneur Bevan Slattery’s long-running move to organise the building of a new 20-terabyte submarine cable connecting Perth and Singapore, appears to have finally borne fruit.

Slattery’s SubPartners outfit has persuaded Telstra and Optus parent SingTel to come aboard as partners in the APX-West cable project, which will span around 4500km and cost more than $100 million.

Slattery yesterday said the rise of Singapore as a regional interconnection and cloud hosting hub had reinforced the need for another cable to support the existing SEA-ME-WE 3.

“The growth of traffic between Australia and Singapore is beyond SWM3’s recently upgraded capacity and it needs to be augmented with this diverse path,” a modestly jubilant Slattery said yesterday. “Add to that the recent submarine cable outages on cables connecting Australia over the past 12 months, and this has crystallised the benefits of this new diverse path to Asia.”

The new cable will have two fibre pairs, each able to carry data at 10 terabits a second.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of July and should be completed in 2018. However earlier plans to have the cable terminate at NextDC’s datacentre in Perth – also a Slattery initiative – have been dropped, and it seems termination will now happen at a Telstra facility.

There was no news yesterday on progress of Slattery’s plans to continue the grand intercontinental undersea highway with a Perth-Sydney line, (possibly with a link to currently data-starved Tasmania); and thence linking further to a yet-to-be-built APX-East, covering 12,500km from Sydney to California.