Sri Lanka’s leading ICT solutions provider and National Backbone operator, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is aggressively pursuing new markets in the region. Building international connectivity is a key aspect of this strategy. SLT’s global coverage was significantly strengthened via multiple undersea optical fibre cable systems: SEA-ME-WE 3, SEA-ME-WE 4, Bharat-Lanka (between India and Sri Lanka) and Dhiraagu (between Maldives and Sri Lanka). Sri Lanka’s geographical location makes it a natural nexus for communications in the Indian Ocean basin and helps ensure that the country plays a key role in the process of unfolding new technologies across the region.
Following a recent upgrade to the SEA-ME-WE 4 by SLT, capacity increased by 3 folds that enabled the system to accommodate much higher speeds using 100G technology, the cable with higher capacity became available for commercial use at the end of 2014. Cable commissioned in 2005, the SEA-ME-WE 4 system is an ultra-high-capacity fibre-optic submarine cable linking South-East Asia to Western Europe via the Middle East. Utilising linear fibre network architecture, this 18,000 km cable is equipped with a total of 16 landing stations. The SEA-ME-WE 4 cable network is owned by a consortium of 17 leading telecom carriers from 15 countries. SLT has developed important partnerships through its involvement in this project. Key among them are the relationships forged with near neighbours Bharti Infotel and Tata Communications (India) and Dhiraagu (Maldives).
Mr. Dileepa Wijesundera, Group CEO of SLT commented that, “SLT investments continued to further strengthen country’s Global Connectivity as a key strategy devised to support the national objective of making Sri Lanka the Digital Hub of the region. Also the company has focused on capacities required for future data demand. SLT has become a member of the 20-member international consortium that owns the SEA-ME-WE 5 international undersea cable system and is currently in the process of implementing yet another future proof project to serve country’s data demand for the next 25 years”.
Currently, SLT is in the process of implementing unmatched global connectivity project, the SEA-ME-WE 5 international undersea cable system with a total design capacity of 24 Tbps and 100G technology. This 20,000km cable runs from Singapore and to France in the other corner of the global system via Sri Lanka by connecting to the high-speed undersea cable with 20 parties contributed by investing for the system. And further SEA-ME-WE 5 will be extending to the Carrier neutral POPs (Point of Presence) for business viability. Construction of the cable commenced in September 2014. When it is finished in 2016, SEA-ME-WE 5 will deliver a massive increase in communications capacity, which will be available to support growth in Sri Lanka and other member countries. Furthermore, the SEA-ME-WE 5 cable station that is being established in Matara facilitates double landing (full landing connectivity/core system landing/main landing instead previous connections through branch cables to the island), thereby enhancing the reliability of Sri Lanka’s connectivity to the world and will Reduce latency unmatched to any of the other cable systems on the planet because of the design of the system. The landing stations for SEA-ME-WE 4 and 3 are located at Colombo and Mount Lavinia respectively via branch connectivity. Sri Lanka’s southern region will host the South Asia's first Submarine Cable Depot in the region, which may improve speed of recovery from interruptions from cable breaks.
SLT has partnered with SEA-ME-WE consortiums right from the inception and currently SLT connects globally via SEA-ME-WE 3, SEA-ME-WE 4 and two other private cables to India and Maldives. With SLT’s investment in the new SEA-ME-WE 5 cable, country’s global connectivity capacity will move to the next level - with Terabits of capacity; making Sri Lanka and SLT “future ready” to take on the envisaged data explosion. As Sri Lanka has been offered the “full landing” status by SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium, that will pave the way to establish a Global POP in Sri Lanka in the future. Furthermore, the SEA-ME-WE 5 cable station that is being established in Matara facilitates double landing; thereby enhancing the reliability of Sri Lanka’s connectivity to the system. With these global connectivity advancements, Sri Lanka will be the most preferred destination in the region for BPO or Data Center operations