Telco to invest P7B to meet data demand

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    The country’s dominant telecommunication company is readying a P7-billion investment on a new international cable link project that will increase its international data capacity to help meet customers’ high demand for data.

    PLDT Inc. said it has finalized the technical and management agreements with a consortium of global companies that include Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank, PCCW Global and NTT Communications for direct undersea fiber links to the United States and Japan, through the trans-Pacific cable system called Jupiter.

    The Jupiter cable system will use state-of-the-art, upgradeable technology using an “open cable model” which will allow PLDT to increase the capacity of its own fiber links by investing in the terminal technologies that boost data throughput.

    Spanning 14,000 kilometers, the new undersea fiber will connect to PLDT’s cable landing station in Daet, Camarines Norte and will provide additional capacity of more than 22 Terabits per second (Tbps) from the Philippines directly to and from Japan, and 17.6 Tbps to the West Coast in the US.

    “This project will enable us to further improve the capacity and resilience of the country’s international connectivity and thus continue to deliver unparalleled world-class internet service to our customers,” said Alfred Panlilio, PLDT chief revenue officer.

    The new cable system is expected to be completed and operational by third quarter of 2020. It will utilize new technology that will allow PLDT and other consortium participants to quickly upgrade capacity in response to growing data traffic and customer data usage.

    “This investment is of strategic importance given that a significant amount of content are downloaded by data users from servers abroad, particularly from the US and Japan,” Panlilio said.

    The addition of Jupiter positions PLDT to serve international connectivity requirements better, particularly for enterprise customers.

    “JUPITER not only provides increased capacity going to business-relevant markets, it likewise adds strategic diversity options out of multiple international cable system routes and cable landing stations which businesses can choose from,” said Jovy Hernandez, head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise business group.

    Under the open cable model, consortium participants in the Jupiter cable system are acquiring the fiber cables themselves, not just a share of the system’s fiber capacity.

    This enables PLDT and other consortium participants to quickly increase their undersea cable capacity without having to wait for the upgrade cycle of the consortium that is followed in most cable system models.

    “This new model in constructing international cable systems will allow us to be more agile and responsive to the needs of our customers,” said Gene Sanchez, PLDT vice president for international submarine cable networks.

    “We expect that this new project will further complement our existing network systems and address the increasing data traffic consumption of our PLDT fiber-to-the-home subscribers, enterprise business customers, and our LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile data users,” he added.

    PLDT said this investment will fortify further the quality of its network as recognized by Ookla, global leader in testing and analysis, which named PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. as the Philippines’ fastest networks both in fixed and wireless.

    Mobile analytics firm Opensignal also recognized Smart as the best mobile provider of video experience.