|Lit capacity||480 Gbits/s/pair (two fibre pairs)|
SEA-ME-WE 3 or South-East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 3 is an optical submarine telecommunications cable linking those regions and is the longest in the world, completed in late 2000. It is led by France Telecom and China Telecom, and is administered by Singtel, a telecommunications operator owned by the Government of Singapore. The Consortium is formed by 92 other investors from the telecom industry. It was commissioned in March 2000.
It is 39,000 kilometres (24,000 mi) in length and uses Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) technology with Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) transmission to increase capacity and enhance the quality of the signal, especially over long distances (this cable stretches from North Germany to Australia and Japan).
According to the cable system network administrator's website, the system capacity has been upgraded several times. The cable system itself has two fibre pairs, each carrying (as of May 2007) 48 wavelengths of 10 Gbit/s.
It has 39 landing points in:
- Norden, Germany
- Oostende, Belgium
- Goonhilly, England, UK
- Penmarch, France
- Sesimbra, Portugal
- Tetuan, Morocco
- Mazara del Vallo, Italy
- Chania, Greece
- Marmaris, Turkey
- Yeroskipou, Cyprus
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Suez, Egypt
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Djibouti, Djibouti
- Muscat, Oman
- Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
- Karachi, Pakistan
- Mumbai, India
- Cochin, India
- Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka
- Pyapon, Myanmar
- Satun, Thailand
- Penang, Malaysia (Where it meets the SAFE and the FLAG cables.)
- Medan, Indonesia
- Tuas, Singapore
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Perth, Australia
- Mersing, Malaysia
- Tungku, Brunei
- Da Nang, Vietnam
- Batangas, Philippines
- Taipa, Macau
- Deep Water Bay, Hong Kong
- Shantou, China
- Fangshan, Taiwan
- Toucheng, Taiwan
- Shanghai, China
- Keoje, South Korea
- Okinawa, Japan
In July 2005, a portion of the SEA-ME-WE 3 submarine cable located 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Karachi that provided Pakistan's major outer communications became defective, disrupting almost all of Pakistan's communications with the rest of the world, and affecting approximately 10 million Internet users.
On 26 December 2006 this link severed, causing major disruption to internet services to and from the Far East. The cause of this was suspected to be a magnitude 7.1 earthquake off the coast of Taiwan. It was stated that the link would take 3 weeks to repair.
On 30 January 2008 an apparent ship's anchor off Egypt's Alexandria coast is thought to have cut the newer SEA-ME-WE 4 cable, which is intended to provide redundancy, causing slow Internet connections and disruption to international calls to the U.S. and Europe from the Middle East and South Asia. Over 70 percent of the network in Egypt was down. Although central to India's largest carrier, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, the deputy-director general of that organisation said "Only 10 to 15 percent of our connectivity with the international gateway faced problems".
On 12 December 2010, the cable was again severely affected due to a cable break somewhere between the Alexandria and Sesimbra segments. The fault was later located 31 km from the Alexandria cable station.
On 10 January 2013, the cable was again severed, this time 1,126 kilometres from the Tuas cable station in Singapore, between repeaters 345 and 346. The repair ship ASEAN Explorer was sent to the site. A permit is required from the Indonesian Authorities to effect repairs: as at 3 March 2013 it was reported that "The cable ship operator has advised that the required permit to undertake works has not been granted. A tentative repair date of 09 April 2013 has been posted but still position isn't clear when it will get restore."
In August 2013 a major German newspaper claimed that an alliance of Western and Asian intelligence agencies has managed to tap into the cable. The Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest broadsheet newspaper, wrote that GCHQ has been leading the interception effort, supported by the National Security Agency, which is GCHQ’s American equivalent. The paper cited Edward Snowden as the source of the information. Australian media subsequently revealed that Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) also participates in the undersea cable interception operation, sharing massive amounts of intercepted data with its British and American counterparts: The Age said that the Australian interception activity is facilitated with the help of the Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Defense.
Sea-Me-We 3 was based on the success of the earlier shorter cable Sea-Me-We 2. At the time of commissioning, 18 October 1994, Se-me-we 2 was the world's longest optical fibre submarine cable system at 18,751 km. The cable has two single node fibre pairs with a combined capacity of 1.1Tbit/s, (2*560Gbit/s), 151 repeaters and 9 branches.
- Sri Lanka
- Saudi Arabia
- List of international submarine communications cables
- Other Australian international submarine cables (and year of first service):
Several other cable systems following a substantially similar route to SEA-ME-WEA 3 between Asia and Western Europe:
- "Background.". SEA-ME-WE 3. undated. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
- "Background.". SEA-ME-WE 3. undated. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
- Pakistan Times | Top Story: Standby Net arrangements terminated in Pakistan
- "Communication breakdown in Pakistan". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 June 2005.
- "Pakistan cut off from the world". The Times Of India. 28 June 2005.
- "Asia phone links start to recover". BBC News. 28 December 2006.
- "Severed Cables in Mediterranean Disrupt Communication". Bloomberg. 19 December 2008.
- "GO submarine cable fault part of wider disruption between Italy and Egypt". Times of Malta. 19 December 2008.
- "Perth-Singapore cable severed". iTnews. 15 January 2013.
- Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28 August 2013 (accessed 30.8.2013)
- John Goetz, Hans Leyendecker and Frederik Obermaier (28 August 2013). "British Officials Have Far-Reaching Access To Internet And Telephone Communications" (accessed 30.8.2013)
- The Age, 29 August 2013 (accessed 30.8.2013)
- Anton A. Huurdeman (31 July 2003). The Worldwide History of Telecommunications. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 462–. ISBN 978-0-471-20505-0. Retrieved 19 February 2013.