APG Cable Consortium Close to Take Off

September 23, 2011 - The APG cable consortium has recently reunioned StarHub and decided to move ahead to build the Asia-Pacific Gateway submarine cable system. The much delayed pan-Asia APG cable project seems to take off soon. The three undergoing pan-Asia 40G submarine cable systems, the ASE, the SJC and the APG, are going to  bring both diversity and sufficient capacity to pan-Asia capacity market.

The APG cable consortium initially teamed up in May 2009, initial members including PLDT (the Philippines), Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), China Telecom and China Unicom (mainland China), KT Corp. (Korea), NTT Communications (Japan), Telekom Malaysia (Malaysia), and VNPT (Vietnam). And StarHub was reported to join the APG cable consortium later. 

After that, the APG cable consortium was not able to reach a construction and maintenance agreement soon. NTT's decision last year to give up APG cable project and build it own pan-Asia submarine cable network shaded the APG cable consortium many difficulties. Finally, NTT teamed up with PLDT, StarHub and Telekom Malaysia to build a US$430 million Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE) system. The ASE cable project has been moved ahead quickly and smoothly. In January 2001, Fujitsu and NEC were awarded with the supply contract for the ASE cable system. And the ASE cable is expected to be ready for service in June 2012.

Meanwhile, SingTel teamed up with Globe Telecom, Google, KDDI, Network i2i, Reliance Globalcom, and Telemedia Pacific to build and operate another pan-Asia international submarine cable system, the Southeast Asia Japan Cable (SJC). And the SJC cable consortium signed the supply contract for the SJC cable system with NEC and TE SubCom in April 2011. 

Compared with the smooth progress of the ASE cable project and the SJC cable project, the APG cable consortium encountered many difficulties and was even in a risk to be dissolved. 

Fortunately, two cases may have made the APG cable consortium survival, more and more concerns on cable diversity after the Japan Earthquake in March 2001, and China Mobile's ambition to show up and sound in the submarine networks. NTT was back to the APG consortium again though NTT had invested on the ASE cable system. China Mobile is much welcomed by the APG cable consortium.

Two Singapore competitors, SingTel and StarHub, both found benefit to join the APG cable consortium. Finally they competed a seat in the APG cable consortium. And StarHub won.  

Though the APG cable project has been lag far behind the ASE and the SJC, it is now on the way. All these three pan-Asia submarine cable systems are designed with new generation 40G submarine network, will bring both diversity and sufficient capacity to the pan-Asia capacity market.  

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