Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena to conduct upgrades for SEA-ME-WE 4 cable system

The 16-member consortium-led South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) submarine cable system has turned to Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) for their latest expansion project.

Under the terms of the contracts, Alcatel-Lucent will supply necessary equipment to upgrade all transmission links on the submarine segments to 40 Gbps, while Ciena will supply optical switching equipment for all 16 cable landing sites as well as for 100G transport for an upgrade of the terrestrial link connecting Alexandria to Suez in Egypt.  

Set to begin in Q1 2011, the two companies said the deployment will provide a necessary large capacity increase to the existing cable system (ultimate capacity of 2.4 Terabit per second per fiber pair) to support high-speed Internet and broadband services along the 20,000 km route connecting Europe to the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its 1620 Light Manager upgraded to 40G with coherent technology, and also upgrade part of the already installed 1678 Metro Core Connect on the terrestrial SDH side. Likewise, Ciena will pave a 100 Gbps path by deploying its multi-terabit ActivFlex 5430 Reconfigurable Switching System at cable landing stations and ActivFlex 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, equipped with coherent 100G optics, for the upgrade to 100G of the terrestrial link in Egypt and part of the terrestrial SDH.

Ihab Tarazi, vice president of global network planning for Verizon, a key member in the SEA-ME-WE4 consortium, said that "With the phenomenal growth we're seeing in these areas, SEA-ME-WE4 will provide the much needed capacity without the time and cost of laying new cable." 

The upgrade of the SEA-ME-WE4, which is the fourth project in the SEA-ME-WE series and links Southeast Asia to Europe through the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, is one of a series of new submarine cable upgrades.

Earlier this week, a new consortium including Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), StarHub and Telekom Malaysia to build the new $430 million Asia Submarine Express (ASE) submarine cable system.

For more:
- see the Alcatel-Lucent/Ciena release
- see the Verizon release

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