Orange announces the landing in Marseille of the 21,700 km SEA-ME-WE 6 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 6) system, which will link France to Singapore. Following this operation in Marseille, work will begin on the installation of more than 3,000 kilometres of cable to bring the system to Egypt. 

Designed using the latest submarine fibre optic technologies, this cable will offer very high speeds and very low latency to meet the growing needs of our customers and the digital economy along this strategic route.  This new system will offer a capacity of over 130 Tbps. 

Orange is responsible as “landing party” in France and is hosting the cable in Marseille in its secure infrastructure, providing neutral access to all the city’s data centres via a state-of-the-art urban fibre optic ring.

A sustainable project management, from design to deployment, to respect and protect the environment

As part of its corporate strategy, Orange is particularly committed to protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity in all its infrastructure projects. Orange has, therefore, worked closely with government departments, the region and all local players on the route of the Sea-Me-We-6 submarine cable and its landing in Marseille.

Environmental studies and geophysical surveys (in particular of the marine biocenoses) have been carried out in order to take into account the high environmental constraints of the most sensitive maritime areas, in particular the coralligenous zones, the Posidonia seagrass meadows (Posidonia Oceanica) and the Marseille underwater canyon. At certain points, the route has been optimised to follow the seabed topography as closely as possible and avoid the species that have been observed (e.g. noble pen shells) by using sandy areas. In sensitive areas, specially designed anchors will be used to fasten the cable to the seagrass meadows at regular intervals to avoid drag phenomenon.  During landing operations, the cable will use existing infrastructure to avoid any additional impact.  

For the subsequent laying operations, the vessel will sail at a reduced speed, and particular care will be taken to preserve the seagrass meadows. 

In-situ inspections by divers and regular environmental monitoring over several years are planned until the cable is dismantled, which will be carried out in accordance with current administrative procedures.

“We are delighted with the arrival of this new route, which will allow us to offer a new solution for high-speed, high-performance “express” connectivity between France and Asia as well as improved speeds to our sites in the Indian Ocean.  Moreover, this new cable will enable us to meet the growing needs of our customers on this strategic route over the long term. Our network will also allow our wholesale customers to join many international networks to Asia, as well as Africa and the Americas. The arrival of this new cable in Marseille once again places France at the heart of the European hub, with direct access to major European cities.” says Jean-Louis Le Roux, Director of International Networks at Orange. 

Orange is present on more than 40 submarine cables worldwide, particularly on the Europe-Asia route through its participation in the SEA-ME-WE3, SEA-ME-WE4, SEA-ME-WE5 and IMEWE consortia. The Group continues its strategy of investing in submarine cable connectivity projects in order to guarantee and continuously improve the quality of service of its global network.

Image source: Courtesy of Orange

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