13 April 2023

The Hidden Risks of Subsea Cable Disruptions for Global Businesses

Posted by Briana from Telin on Apr 13, 2023 7:08:05 PM


Subsea cables are extremely important for any industry, especially the financial industries, as they enable the high-speed transmission of large amounts of data between financial centers around the world. These cables allow financial institutions to quickly execute trades, access market data, and communicate with clients and partners located in different countries and time zones.

In particular, subsea cables are essential for the operation of the global financial markets, where even small delays in the transmission of data can result in significant financial losses. The financial industry also relies heavily on the security and reliability of subsea cables, as any disruptions to these networks can have significant consequences for the global economy. Therefore, ensuring the resilience and redundancy of these cables is a top priority for financial institutions and their regulators.

With a growing demand for financial services, technology solutions, and cross-border investments and trade between three major regions: America, Europe, and Asia, subsea cables and other connectivity infrastructure are likely to play a key role in facilitating this connectivity. It can be done by enabling fast and reliable communication and data transfer between all financial centers in the region.

The majority of digital communication occurs via the fiber optic networks that span the Pacific Ocean, connecting the American West Coast to Japan, Singapore, or Hong Kong.

However, this region is susceptible to frequent seismic disruptions and shipping traffic. In 2022 alone, at least four disruptions happened to cables along these routes. Based on our research, these disruptions have the potential to generate losses of anywhere from 2% to 20% of the revenue generated from services delivered by this cable. In addition, problems with connectivity due to subsea cable disruptions can result in poor customer experience and a negative perception of your brand, and even lead to termination of services. Such outages could impact more than 85% of connectivity in destination countries. 

What are some ways to get around this?

Direct access to Southeast Asia, diverse connectivity to other parts of the globe

As an alternative to the existing trans-Pacific routes, Telin has built the SEA-US-IGG (South-East Asia - United States - Indonesia Global Gateway) cable. This 15,000 high-speed fiber optic submarine cable system, which has a design capacity of up to 100 Tbps, is the first cable to directly connect Southeast Asia with the United States. It moreover connects to SEA-ME-WE 5 cable system, which routes through the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The IGG backbone runs from Singapore all the way to Manado, Indonesia, where it connects with the United States (SEA-US) cable running across the Pacific Ocean and landing in California, USA. Thus, Telin offers the only route connecting Asia to the USA that does not go through the disruption-prone area of the South China Sea, Luzon Strait, and Japan, where cables frequently experience cutting and breakage.

By taking a different path, the SEA-US-IGG cable system avoids the seismically active regions that existing trans-Pacific cables go to, thus providing a more reliable and resilient network for international data traffic. In addition, SEA-US-IGG users may find this path less congested compared with traditional routes.

The other end of this cable system connects in Singapore with Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) and AAE 1 (Asia Africa Europe 1) cables. Both cables connect Southeast Asia to Europe, provides diverse and resilient connectivity across European, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern market, and deliver one of the lowest-latency routes between Hong Kong, India, and EMEA.

With these cable systems, businesses have multiple cable options through which they can build resiliency so that when one cable fails, traffic can be rerouted through others.

Of equal interest, the route offers companies and organizations a more direct connection to the attractive and fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia. More than 650 million people live in this region, with internet penetration of up to 70% in most countries. 

As it runs directly through Southeast Asia, these cable systems can offer better connectivity for businesses who wish to reach Southeast Asia from other parts of the world than many other cable segments. This, in turn, confers a valuable advantage for users given that latency is a key factor in user experience today. 

Going forward

Leveraging Telin’s ownership of the SEA-US-IGG segment, Telin continues to expand global connectivity through a joint agreement with Keppel and Facebook to jointly own and develop the Bifrost Cable System (BCS), the world’s first subsea cable system that directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America via Indonesia through the Java Sea and the Celebes Sea.

Offering an alternative Asia-US route compared to the traditional earthquake-prone zone of the South China Sea, the 15,000 km Bifrost cable will add trans-Pacific capacity. Its route is also unique as it goes through Indonesia all the way to Singapore-Hong Kong-Japan. It also offers users access to the biggest number of eyeballs in Indonesia, where users are also supported by 24/7 monitoring and Telin’s WHOCC control center. The BCS is expected to be completed in 2024.

Telin will is also working on expanding its Asia-Middle East-Europe cable routes with the construction of the SEA-ME-WE 6 route. The SEA-ME-WE 6 will connect Singapore Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, , India, Pakistan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and France. The SEA-ME-WE 6 will have more fiber pairs and more than double the capacity of previous SEA-ME-WE cables.

This subsea cable gives additional connectivity capacity to the Asia-Europe segment, with the ability to welcome new market opportunities where the SEA-ME-WE 6 lands in UAE, Mumbai, and Africa. The system is expected to be completed in 2025.

We also forged a strategic alliance between the IGG-SEA-US and JGA Cable Systems, offering an alternative route between Singapore and Japan.

The expansion of Telin’s subsea infrastructure will add real value for users globally, and help differentiate Telin in the marketplace through superior subsea cable offerings. Many of the subsea projects that Telin is working on are highly distinctive.

Right now, Telin is in the unique position of having multiple subsea cable consortiums to expand its 250,140 km existing subsea network. All of the cables are equipped with open cable technology including WSS ROADM & Enhanced BU for efficient use of trunk capacity and fiber-level ownership. The subsea cables are also monitored and supported 24/7 by the Telin WHOCC control center.

Let’s connect!

With the pace of business today, it’s important not to wait too long on major decisions. Contact us to find out more at marketing@telin.net. We’d be happy to chat with you so that you can see whether Telin’s IPLC can accelerate your digital business forward.


Briana from Telin

Written by Briana from Telin

Briana is member of Telin Marketing Team, taking part in a lot of digital marketing aspects, experts in responding to your inquiry and assigning to the right Telin representative.