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China Telecom: Boosting Data in Southeast Asia with a Subsea Cable Investment

China Telecom is committed to connecting customers around the world by providing reliable, high-speed internet and data connectivity. That’s why CTA’s affiliate has joined a consortium of Southeast Asian telecommunications providers to jointly invest USD $300M into a new subsea cable system. Aptly named the Asia Link Cable (ALC), the system aims to boost data capacity throughout the region while also upgrading local network capacities.

Executive Vice President of CTA’s affiliate, Mr. Wu Xiaolei, says, “We take great pride in playing an essential role in developing and promoting cloud and network integration. We welcome different service providers or industry partners in this endeavor, in the hopes that we can better serve our customers. With this cable, we will provide greater value to this community of partners, service providers, and customers, and achieve success together.”

CTA’s affiliate will co-lead the project alongside Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Singtel), with both companies joined by their respective Philippines-based affiliates, as well as DITO Telecommunity Corporation (DITO), Globe Telecom, Inc. (Globe), and Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) of Brunei Darussalam. The cable system will be supplied by HMN Tech, with construction expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2025.

Connecting key markets beneath the sea

Approximately 6,000 kilometers long, the primary “trunk” of the ALC system will run from Hong Kong SAR, China, to Singapore. Additional branches will connect out to Hainan in China, Luna and Bauang in the Philippines, and Tungku in Brunei Darussalam.

Recognizing the demand for low latency and high bandwidth, the project will cater to the region’s growing digital economies and online populations, both of which have been further fueled by the recent global pandemic. The six markets in this region—Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines—are currently home to 460 million internet users.

Mr. Wu Xiaolei explains, “In the digitalization era, the Asia Link Cable (ALC) is critical for connecting and creating value for our customers, especially in Asia. We are aiming to achieve a more sustainable environment and community as well as enhancing the efficiency of our communication processes by building strong and reliable undersea cables around the world.”

The subsea system, which will have a minimum of eight fiber pairs and an 18Tbps per fiber pair minimum trunk capacity design, will increase resiliency for international traffic by providing additional hyper capacity throughout the region. It will also widen route diversity and increase capacity for existing Southeast Asian networks. An open cable system architecture will also allow telecommunications providers to select and maintain independent line terminal equipment so they can meet their respective customer needs, reducing dependence on any single provider within the consortium.

“ALC is a great accomplishment by Asian carriers that overcame the difficulties of Covid impacts,” says ALC Co-Chair and a director of CTA’s affiliate, adding, “It’s also the only subsea project with zero face-to-face meetings from the MoU to the C&MA signing in the industry. The ALC consortium adopts an open and inclusive principle and will attract more investors in the near future to make it more cost effective, which will reinforce the resilience of interconnectivity in Asia and better serve the digital economy in the region.”

To learn more about China Telecom’s extensive global network of data centers, terrestrial cable systems, and submarine cable systems, visit our global network page.

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