Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) – the country’s ICT giant – proudly announces that the company has partnered 15 international telecommunication operators representing 17 countries to build the South East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) state-of-the-art undersea cable system: a multi-regional superhighway spanning approximately 20,000 kilometres from Asia Pacific to Europe via Sri Lanka. The said group of telecom companies have formed a consortium to jointly pursue the building of this undersea cable system with state-of-the-art technology. The collaboration was made official when the consortium members Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Mobile International Limited (CMI), China Telecommunications Global Limited (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (du), Orange (formerly France Telecom FT), Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), Telecom Italia Sparkle (TIS), TOT Public Company Limited, Yemen International Telecommunications Co. (TeleYemen) –signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) and the Supply Contract for SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system in Kuala Lumpur today. The SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable system, spanning approximately 20,000 km, will offer a POP to POP solution from Singapore, all the way to Europe via France and Italy. It connects 17 countries altogether, serving as the new platform for future business ICTs. The conceptualization of SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable system evolved around the capacity requirements of inter-continents to support the next generation internet applications which come from every part of the world. The traffic has grown significantly in recent years, resulting in existing cable systems such as SEA-ME-WE 4 getting heavily loaded, thus creating the need for a new superhighway to cater for futuristic capacities, diversities and access capabilities. The Group Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom, Mr. Lalith De Silva commenting on the project partnership and investment said, “The gigantic capacity derived through this new cable system would facilitate the exponential growth in demand for data both locally and internationally and thereby would enable Sri Lanka to leverage on its strategic geographical location in developing the six regional hubs as envisioned by GoSL. This initiative will be one of the key enablers in achieving the expected socio-economic growth in the country and would accelerate the move towards an inclusive digital economy and a SMART Sri Lanka. ” The SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system which is scheduled to commence operations by early 2016 is designed to provide upgradeable transmission facilities by adopting the latest state-of-the-art 100 Gbps technology. When fully loaded, the SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system would be able to carry 24,000 Giga bits per second (24 Tera bits per second); the equivalent of transmitting around 4800 high-definition movies every second. Adding further Mr. De Silva mentioned, “As SLT’s major traffic routes are connected to key destinations in Europe, Asia Pacific and Indian regions, the upcoming SEA-ME-WE 5, being the fastest and highest capacity international cable system connecting these regions, would undoubtedly boost country’s international transactions many fold. SEA-ME-WE 5 has the capability to handle traffic from the cable starting point to its end - from Singapore to France - with lightning speeds of less than 90 milliseconds which in fact is the fastest speed achieved interconnecting Asia pacific to Europe. Another important feature of this cable system is the facilitation of POP to POP connectivity with no barriers. This will enable operators to connect with the required POP directly from the landing point at no extra cost; thereby offering cost benefits to operators that opt to connect to Sri Lanka via the SEA-ME-WE 5 cable.” According to company's strategic objectives, investment in Global Connectivity is a key strategy devised to support the national objective of making Sri Lanka the Digital Hub of the region. 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.