LEADING telecommunications provider Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has partnered with Hong Kong’s PCCW Global to undertake a new international fiber optic project that aims to improve PLDT’s connectivity in 17 countries across four continents.
The Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) Cable System project aims to increase PLDT’s international bandwidth capacity and raise the resiliency of its overseas links as it enhances the quality of data and internet connection for its customers.
The 25,000-kilometer undersea cable network system that will connect Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and Europe will use 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) technology with minimum capacity use of 10 Gbps.
In a statement, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon Nazareno said, “The AAE-1 Cable System will provide network diversity and resiliency which is a great enabler in delivering quality service to our customers.”
He said a highly resilient international network survives man-made and natural disasters such as undersea earthquakes which, in some instances, cause the “isolation” of countries from the rest of the world.
Connected to 17 countries
Scheduled for completion in 2016, the AAE-1 will connect the Philippines to 17 international destinations, namely France, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Pakistan, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
“AAE-1 will boost our country’s global competitiveness by being one of the significant factors that could attract investors in business process outsourcing industries (BPOs) and other enterprises,” Nazareno added. “It will also allow the PLDT Group to offer products and services, such as enterprise data and internet services to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”
AAE-1 will further enhance the PLDT Group’s capability to offer its customers the latest bandwidth-heavy broadband applications that require international access, such as IP-based data, external video content, and other multimedia services.
According to PLDT International Network vice president Gene Sanchez, “Once operational, AAE-1 will enable PLDT and its group of companies, including Smart Communications and Sun Cellular, to serve the ever-increasing bandwidth requirements of their combined customer base. It will benefit businesses—from large corporations and multinational companies, to small and medium enterprises, to individual homes where the internet is a most valued and useful tool for every member of the family.”
For the past years, PLDT has been investing in international submarine cables in the Asia-Pacific region, establishing direct connections to the US Mainland and covering a majority of its total international capacity.
The investment in AAE-1 forms part of PLDT’s capex for 2014 estimated at between P30 billion and P32 billion.
Last year, PLDT and its partners completed the construction of the Asia Submarine-Cable Express (ASE), the largest-capacity international submarine cable system in the Philippines with a landing station located in Daet, Camarines Norte.
The other international cable systems that PLDT landed in the Philippines are the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) and the Southeast Asia-Middle East-West Europe 3 (SEA-ME-WE3) both landing in Nasugbu, Batangas, and the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) that lands in Bauang, La Union.
Once completed, AAE-1 will be part of PLDT’s global network of 15 international cable systems, bringing its total international capacity to nearly 2 Terabits per second (Tbps).
“This new cable system will facilitate the PLDT Group’s growth and expansion, allowing it to serve more customers not only in the country but in Europe and the Middle East as well,” Nazareno said.