From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cable type Fibre-optic
Construction beginning 1997
Construction finished 2000
Design capacity 0.02 Tbit/s (1999)
0.96 Tbit/s (2007)
1.28 Tbit/s (2009)
4.6 Tbit/s (2015)
Lit capacity 2.3 Tbit/s per pair (two fibre pairs)
Owner(s) Consortium

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[1] 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.[2]

In December 2009, the 4th 10G Upgrade increased WDM channels from 48 to 64 per fibre pair.[3] [4]

On 1 Jan 2015, the 5th Capacity Expansion was distributed to all the owners. Data capacity of the submarine network is increased significantly with 100G technologies.[5]

Landing points[edit]

The route (in red) and landing points (numbered in black)

It has 39 landing points which are in:

  1. Norden, Germany
  2. Oostende, Belgium
  3. Goonhilly, UK
  4. Penmarch, France
  5. Sesimbra, Portugal
  6. Tetuan, Morocco
  7. Mazara del Vallo, Italy
  8. Chania, Greece
  9. Marmaris, Turkey
  10. Yeroskipou, Cyprus
  11. Alexandria, Egypt
  12. Suez, Egypt
  13. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  14. Djibouti, Djibouti
  15. Muscat, Oman
  16. Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
  17. Karachi, Pakistan
  18. Mumbai, India
  19. Kochi, India
  20. Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka
  21. Pyapon, Myanmar
  22. Satun, Thailand
  23. Penang, Malaysia
  24. Medan, Indonesia
  25. Tuas, Singapore
  26. Jakarta, Indonesia
  27. Perth, Australia
  28. Mersing, Malaysia
  29. Tungku, Brunei
  30. Da Nang, Vietnam
  31. Batangas, Philippines
  32. Taipa, Macau
  33. Deep Water Bay, Hong Kong
  34. Shantou, China
  35. Fangshan, Taiwan
  36. Toucheng, Taiwan
  37. Shanghai, China
  38. Geoje, South Korea
  39. Okinawa, Japan


In December 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by 16 Parties for the development of the Sea-Me-We 3 project between Western Europe and Singapore. In November 1996, additional MOUs were signed to extend the system from Singapore to the Far East and to Australia. Finally in January 1997, the Construction and Maintenance Agreement for Sea-Me-We 3 was signed by 92 International Carriers. By end-2000 the entire network was completed.

Service disruptions[edit]

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.[6][7][8]

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.[9]

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".[10]

On 19 December 2008, the cable was again severed, simultaneously with SEA-ME-WE 4, the FLAG FEA cable, and the GO-1 cable.[11][12]

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.[13] The repair ship ASEAN Explorer was sent to the site. A permit is required from the Indonesian Authorities to effect repairs: on 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."[14]

On 30 November 2014, the cable again experienced a problem in the Jakarta to Perth sector. The fault is still being investigated. ASEAN Explorer appeared onsite of the Cable Breakage point on the 24th December 2014 which involved over a week of repairs. Cable restored on 1 January 2015[15]

On 8 January 2015, The cable once again experienced problems on the Perth to Jakarta Section. The fault is being investigated.[16]

On 15 September 2015 the cable was again cut at segment 3.3 causing significant disruption to services from Australia to Singapore. Service disruptions caused particular impact for Apple customers due to the release of the iPhone 6, iOS9 and OSX just prior to the cable cut. Apples services were reported as being crippled for Telstra customers but the impact was noticeable for all other Australian ISP's.[17] This disruption is expected to be repaired sometime after Mid October 2015.[18] This is the third time that the cable has been cut in this segment in just over 2 and a half years.

On 25 September 2015 at 03:07 UTC, The cable once again experienced problems at SMW3 S3.3 (Perth-BU) at about 1143 km from Tuas cable station (between repeater R346 and R345).[19] ironically this is the same location as where the previous problem occurred, which took 3 months for Indonesian authorities to permit a cable ship in to repair the damage. On 29 September, it was advised that a cable ship had been mobilized to the area,[20] to isolate and resolve the fault, with a tentative fix date of mid to late October, however due to the complexity of repairing cables, this time frame was only an estimated time frame for a fix.

On 27 September 2015 at 01:49 UTC, Further faults have been identified in the cable in SMW3 S3.1, The fault location is at 360 km from Ancol Cable Station (between repeater R108 & R109).,[21] cable ship Asean Explorer has already been mobilized to this location.

On 11 December 2016 at 9:30 AEST, Vocus Group[22] confirmed that SEAMEWE3 failed due to a cable cut 1125km from the Singapore Tuas Cable Landing Station. Asean Explorer arrived on the cable fault location on the 10th Jan 2017 with a tentative repair window from the 11th - 14th.


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.[23][24] 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.[25]

Sea-Me-We 2[edit]

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 mode fibre pairs with a combined capacity of 1.12 Gbit/s, (2*560 Mbit/s), 151 repeaters and 9 branches.[26]

Cable type Fibre-optic
Predecessor SEA-ME-WE
Successor SEA-ME-WE 3
Construction finished October 1994
Design capacity 1.12 Gbit/s
Lit capacity 0.56 Gbit/s per pair (two fibre pairs)
Defunct October 2006
Owner(s) Consortium (52 Owners)

Countries Linked[edit]


The SEA-ME-WE cable history started in June 1985 when the first 12/25 MHz capacity, 13.500 km long SEA-ME-WE cable was commissioned using Analog/Copper technology. SEA-ME-WE cable was decommissioned in June 1999.

See also[edit]

Several other cable systems following a substantially similar route to SEA-ME-WEA 3 between Asia and Western Europe:


whirlpool topic

  1. ^ "Background.". SEA-ME-WE 3. n.d. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  2. ^ "Background.". SEA-ME-WE 3. n.d. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  3. ^ The main trunk shall contain at least 2 fibre pairs and each fibre pair shall be capable of operating at a minimum of 10Gbit/s, providing a minimum of 64 Basic System Payload Modules in each fibre pair. "Standard IRU Agreement" (PDF). SEA-ME-WE 3. 2012-11-30. p. 23. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  4. ^ SEA-ME-WE 3 4th 10G Upgrade (Dec 2009) "Capacity Upgrade of In-service Systems using WDM Technology" (PDF). FUJITSU. 2014-04-23. p. 12. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  5. ^ "Background.". SEA-ME-WE 3. n.d. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  6. ^ Pakistan Times | Top Story: Standby Net arrangements terminated in Pakistan
  7. ^ "Communication breakdown in Pakistan". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 June 2005. 
  8. ^ "Pakistan cut off from the world". The Times Of India. 28 June 2005. 
  9. ^ "Asia phone links start to recover". BBC News. 28 December 2006. 
  10. ^ Bloomberg
  11. ^ "Severed Cables in Mediterranean Disrupt Communication". Bloomberg. 19 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "GO submarine cable fault part of wider disruption between Italy and Egypt". Times of Malta. 19 December 2008. 
  13. ^ "Perth-Singapore cable severed". iTnews. 15 January 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Event 4351219 | iiNet Network Status - Internet Service | Internet Service | iiNet Australia". Retrieved 2015-09-28. 
  20. ^ Internode. "Internode :: Support :: Network Status and Advisories". Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  21. ^ iiNet. "Whirlpool Forums - iiNET subforum". Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  22. ^ Vocus Group. "Vocus Group - Incident Summary". Retrieved 2016-12-13. 
  23. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28 August 2013 (accessed 30.8.2013)
  24. ^ 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)
  25. ^ The Age, 29 August 2013 (accessed 30.8.2013)
  26. ^ 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.