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Cablegate: Submarine Cable Links Singapore Directly to U.S., Bypasses

VZCZCXRO2233
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGP #1184 3440810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100810Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7522
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001184

STATE FOR EEB/CIP/BA
STATE PASS USTR FOR JMCHALE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS ECON SN

SUBJECT: SUBMARINE CABLE LINKS SINGAPORE DIRECTLY TO U.S., BYPASSES
EARTHQUAKE ZONE

REF: A) 07 BANGKOK 81; B) SINGAPORE 1108

1. Singapore witnessed the official launch December 8 of a new
20,000 kilometer high bandwidth fiber optic submarine cable system
that links Southeast Asia directly to the United States. The
Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable system links Singapore, Malaysia,
Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Hong Kong and the Philippines directly
across the Pacific Ocean via Guam and Hawaii to the United States,
bypassing areas prone to earthquakes that have crippled
telecommunications links in the past. The new cable system
complements Singapore's under-construction next generation broadband
network, and officials hope it will boost Singapore's reputation as
a center for information technology, ultimately drawing in more
foreign direct investment.

2. Starhub, a Singapore-listed telecommunications company, is part
of a 19-company consortium of telecom companies, including AT&T,
that built the US$500 million cable system over the past three
years. Starhub will start offering the high speed connecting
services in January 2010. The undersea cable system uses Dense
Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology which allows
capacity to be expanded without laying additional fiber. Designed
for broadband internet traffic, the AAG will be able to transmit
data at speeds of 1.92 terabits per second, boosting Starhub's
global bandwidth capacity by about 30 percent. Michael Sim, Senior
Manager of Starhub's Corporate Communications, told Econoff that
industry experts view the AAG as superior to other aged submarine
cable systems, and will be able to support the burgeoning demand for
voice, data and video traffic between Southeast Asia and the United
States.

Around the Ring of Fire
-----------------------

3. Starhub touts AAG as the sole submarine cable system linking
Southeast Asia directly to the United States rather than via
traditional routes through Northeast Asia. Besides offering direct
linkage and faster services, AAG bypasses the Pacific "Ring of
Fire", an earthquake-prone zone site in the basin of the Pacific
Ocean where nearly 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur. The
routing will mitigate the impact from natural disasters such as the
7.1 magnitude Henchun earthquake off Taiwan in December 2006, which
damaged undersea cable systems (ref A). The saga almost brought
internet traffic in Singapore and the surrounding region to a
standstill, disrupting commercial operations, and prompting Starhub
to invest in AAG.

4. The AAG will bring Singapore better international connectivity
and will complement Singapore's city-wide next generation broadband
network, due to become operational in selected parts of the island
by the second quarter of 2010 (ref B). The new network promises
Internet access at up to one gigabit/second in Singapore, but
without high speed cables outside Singapore speeds would be
substantially lower. Singapore officials hope the cable will boost
Singapore's status as a host for mission-critical data and help
attract regional and global information technology and media
companies to its shores.

SHIELDS

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