History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

1985-86: SEA-ME-WE 1
South East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe 1

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1986 Singapore Cover

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Insert to cover, issued by
Singapore Telecoms

On 14 February 1984, a consortium of 22 telecommunications administrations from 21 countries signed the agreement for the construction, operation and maintenance of the South-East Asia - Middle-East - Western Europe Submarine Cable System (SEA-ME-WE 1).

The Submarine Cable System had eight segments linking Singapore to France via Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Italy. At a length of about 13,000 km and costing over S$800 million, it was one of the longest submarine cables in the world at the time.

The Submarine Cable System carried all types of telecommunications services including telephone, telex, telegram, data and facsimile. The submarine cables, shielded from external interference, offered very high quality telecommunications services under all weather conditions.

Until 1985, except for trans-border telecommunications utilising terrestrial land coaxial cable and microwave links, international telecommunications between East Asia, the Middle East and Europe depended almost entirely on satellite communications. The introduction of this submarine cable provided for the first time an alternative telecommunications link for the countries in the Indian Ocean region.

At Singapore it interconnected with existing submarine cables such as the ASEAN submarine cable, completed in 1984, and subsequent submarine cable systems in the region. Two other submarine cable systems completed in 1986 were the Singapore - Hong Kong - Taiwan Submarine Cable System and the Singapore - Indonesia - Australia Submarine Cable System.

Through these four submarine cable systems and a sophisticated network of satellite communications, Telecoms increasingly played its role in delivering the information technology to the business community and the general public.

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SEA-ME-WE 1 was withdrawn from service in 1999.

Many additional stamps are shown on the pages linked from the Stamps Index page

Last revised: 24 February, 2017

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