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SLT opens SEA-ME-WE-5 Submarine Cable

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 4 October 2017 00:00


  • Links SL to 17 countries to provide global bandwidth capacity 
  • Rs. 20 b investment by SLT to reduce costs and meet future ICT demand  

 By P.D. de Silva 

Sri Lanka Telecom’s SEA-ME-WE-5 Submarine Cable landing station at Browns Hill, Matara was formally opened this week and will enable SLT to provide a higher transmission speed at reduced cost. 

SEA-ME-WE-5 is the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-5 undersea cable system, which will increase SLT’s international bandwidth capacity tenfold and be sufficient to meet the ICT requirements of the country for the next 25 years. It will also help fulfil the vision of making Sri Lanka the digital hub of the region. SEA-ME-WE-5 is capable of delivering a gigantic 24 terabits per second global bandwidth capacity to Sri Lanka.

SLT Chairman P. G. Kumarasisiri Sirisena, addressing the opening ceremony, said: “Sri Lanka Telecom has invested over Rs. 20 billion for the SEA-ME-WE-5 cable system which spans more than 20,000 km and was completed within a space of two years. Sri Lanka Telecom always makes investments with Sri Lanka’s future ICT requirements in mind. Of SLT’s total investment of Rs. 275 billion, about Rs. 100 billion has been invested on digital technology.” 

The tier 3 data centre, being completed in Pannipitiya, will be ready to be commissioned in November. SLT has also achieved 25,000 km of fibre for this project at a cost of Rs. 20 billion to meet the future needs of Sri Lanka. SLT Mobitel will be able to provide islandwide 2G, 3G and 4G coverage within the next year, Sirisena added.

“SEA-ME-WE-5 will increase speeds transmission speeds thousand-fold which will enable us to provide services at cheaper rates,” said Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando. 

“We must be grateful to the Government for establishing a Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure with the future needs of the country in mind. We hope to provide every Advanced Level student in the country with a tab and a keyboard with internet connection by April next year by which way we will be introducing ICT to rural families. The pilot project we held at Visakha Vidyalaya, Badulla was a big success.

“At present we are one step ahead of our giant neighbour India as they are still not connected to the SEA-ME-WE-5 cable network. We will be introducing the Local Government Network (LGN) which will help reduce Government expenditure on printing, travelling and official’s time in the day-to-day administration of the nation.”

President Maithripala Sirisena opened the cable station and also digitally laid the foundation stone for South Asia’s first state-of-the-art Submarine Cable Depot in Galle Port which will be operated and managed by SLT and provide submarine cable maintenance within an area between Djibouti in the west and Perth in the South from 1 January 2018. Sri Lanka will be the only Submarine Cable Depot in the South Asian region. 

SLT is to operate the cable depot in Sri Lanka as a joint venture Galle Submarine Cable Depot Ltd. (GSCDPL) with Indian Ocean Cableship Pte Ltd. (IOCPL) which is a ship service provider for the South East Asia and Indian Ocean Cable Maintenance Agreement (SEAIOCMA).

IOCPL is a joint venture company of Singtel Singapore and Orange France. The newly-formed GSCDPL will be a depot service provider under the SEAIOCMA while SEAIOCMA is the international consortium for maintaining the undersea cables.


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