MANILA, Philippines, January 31, 2011 – PLDT announced today that it has signed a construction and maintenance agreement (C&MA) to build a US$430 million next generation high bandwidth optical fiber underwater cable system called Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), and PLDT will build a new cable landing station on the east coast of the Philippines.
The ASE consortium parties signed the ASE C&MA on January 27, 2011 in Tokyo, the other parties were NTT Communications of Japan and StarHub of Singapore. And Telekom Malaysia (TM) signed a separate agreement with NTT Communications today in Kuala Lumpur. TM will invest approximately $140 million and own one-third stake of the whole ASE system. TM will owns two of the six fiber pairs of the ASE system to build its own Cahaya Malaysia Cable System.
According to Manila Times, documents filed with the National Telecommunications Commission showed that PLDT will invest $55 million to build the Asia Submarine-cable Express Project. As the Philippine landing party, PLDT will build a new cable station in Daet, Camarines Norte. And the NTC already approved PLDT’s investment as well as the construction of the Daet cable landing station.
PLDT’s new cable landing station on the east coast of the Philippines will also provide enhanced network redundancy for superior telecommunications services for corporate, SME (small and medium enterprise), and retail broadband customers of PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc.
Furthermore, the cable routes between the ASE terminal stations will cover the shortest possible distances to minimize latency. ASE will be installed along a route that will avoid as much as possible the critical earthquake prone area in the south of Taiwan.
With this new cable station in the east coast of the Philippines, PLDT will be in a position to offer a highly resilient international network that is expected to survive natural disasters similar to the major earthquake in the Bashi channel in December 2006. The earthquake resulted in the temporary “isolation” of some countries from international communications.
If there will be problems such as multiple cable cuts in the Bashi Channel, PLDT for example can divert PLDT traffic towards Japan and the United States, as well as corporate circuits normally routed via the west coast cable stations, viz. Batangas and La Union (where other cables systems such as APCN-2 and AAG land), onto PLDT’s DFON and exit the new east coast cable station onto ASE.
The same route using PLDT’s DFON can also be used by other international carriers wishing to have protection via the Philippines for their traffic and circuits that are carried by cables passing through the Bashi channel. NTT Com and StarHub will be the first to benefit from the new terrestrial protection route via PLDT’s new east coast cable station, DFON and PLDT’s west coast stations.