SubCom announced that a contract is in force and implementation has commenced for the supply and installation of the Southeast Asia-Middle EastWestern Europe 6 (SEA-ME-WE 6, or SMW6), a new 19,200 km undersea cable system connecting South East Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe.

The SEA-ME-WE 6 cable system consists of three segments:

  • an undersea segment from Tuas (Singapore) to Ras Ghareb (Egypt),
  • a terrestrial segment from Ras Ghareb (Egypt) to Port Said (Egypt), and
  • another undersea segment from Port Said (Egypt) to Marseilles (France).

The fiber pair capacities for each network segment have been individually designed, together with the segment fiber pair counts, resulting in multi-Terabits end-to-end capacity whilst optimizing the overall system price.

The SMW6 cable system will land at 15 cable landing stations 13 countries, with two cable landing stations connected through terrestrial cables in Egypt and two cable landing stations in India (Mumbai and Chennai) which will be provided by Bharti Airtel. The Maldives will gain diverse international connections through the SMW6 cable system, following existing subsea cables including FALCON, Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Network,Maldives Sri Lanka Cable system (MSC) and the coming India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) developing by Reliance Jio in a collaboration with Ocean Connect Maldives Private Limited (OCM).


SMW6 cable map
SMW6 cable map, Source: SubCom


The SMW6 cable system encompasses some of the most advanced transmission technologies in the world and will improve access to services for everyone along this route.

As a leader in high fiber count submarine cables, SubCom will utilize SL17-SDM cable, supporting up to 24 fiber pairs (FP). Production of the cable and equipment will take place at SubCom’s manufacturing campus in Newington, NH, USA.

Leveraging SubCom’s industry-leading 18kV power source technology, SEA-ME-WE 6 is designed to maintain operations with single-end feed power in the event there is a far-end fault. Single-end power source capability is critical for the reliability and overall resilience of a system, particularly of extended length. SubCom’s system powering expertise and continued investment in research and development enables the company to support complex deployments requiring additional cable lengths.

To reliably support as much as 24FP on a trunk or branch port, SubCom will utilize its Enhanced Branching Unit (eBU), which provides flexible electrical power and optical fiber routing with shore-based telemetry control. The eBU latching power switching provides advanced internal management features for unit and user protection that include repair states, configurable restricted states, and a configurable power-down state that is selected for optimum system reactivation.

The SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium currently includes 12 members, i.e., Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (India), Dhiraagu (Maldives), Djibouti Telecom, Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Orange (France), Singtel (Singapore), Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia, Telin (Indonesia) and Trans World Associates (Pakistan). More members are joining the SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium.

The SMW6 cable system is expected to be ready for service by the first quarter of 2025.