Looks like we’ll have another submarine cable hooking up Asia with Africa and Europe. PCCW, China Unicom, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat, Omantel, Ooredoo, and a host of others held the signing ceremoney yesterday in Hong Kong, bringing the AAE-1 system a big step closer to reality.
As you might guess from those involved, the cable will take mostly the usual route through the Middle East. As currently envisioned, it will land 13 times in 12 countries, starting in Hong Kong and ending in Marseilles. It will cost something in the neighborhood of $600M and be ready in 2016. Of course, there are many milestones to reach in between, each of which could shift things a bit.
Global carriers have been talking about a cable of this type for several years now in order to keep pace with growing bandwidth demand across all regions. Traditional consortium systems have been the rule for this route of course, although some have been agitating for a new approach.