StarHub – BT

New undersea cable links Asia directly to US

The system, built by StarHub and 18 other telcos, boosts Internet connectivity

INTERNET connectivity between Singapore and the United States received a major boost with the minting of a new US$500 million submarine system built by local operator StarHub and 18 other telcos.

The 20,000km-long Asia-America Gateway (AAG), which took nearly three years to complete, links Singapore and a number of other Asian countries directly to the US.

As a local partner, StarHub will manage and operate the Singapore link within the AAG through its flagship cable landing station.

It will start offering connectivity services using the new high-speed pipes from January. StarHub declined to reveal the amount it has invested in the project but said it will boost its international bandwidth capacity by around 30 per cent.

‘The launch of the AAG brings another important strategic asset to StarHub. Not only will this mean that our wholesale and business customers now have more choices but the AAG, along with our partners, puts StarHub firmly on the map as a credible provider of international connectivity and services for the region,’ StarHub chief executive Terry Clontz said yesterday at a launch event.

‘We’re fast approaching the capacity limit in current undersea cable systems. The least expensive way to acquire bandwidth is to participate in a new consortium and invest in a new system,’ he added.

The AAG is capable of transmitting data at speeds of 1.92 terabits per second and is touted to be the only submarine cable system that links Singapore and Asia directly to the US.

A direct linkage significantly reduces Internet traffic latency as the information will not have to pass through other countries before reaching its destination.

Another major advantage of the AAG is that it bypasses the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an earthquake-prone area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur along this horseshoe- shaped seismic region.

This design will mitigate the impact from natural disasters such as those which previously damaged other undersea cable systems, StarHub said. For example, local Internet traffic slowed to a crawl in December 2006 when the Taiwanese quakes severed regional communication arteries such as the SeaMeWe 3 (South East Asia Middle East Western Europe 3) and APCN2 (Asia Pacific Cable Network 2).

‘This new infrastructure will reinforce Singapore’s status as a reliable and trusted location in hosting and transmitting mission-critical data. Through redundancy design, AAG providers could also re-route traffic as and when needed to reduce disruptions to business and communications,’ said Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Manpower Lee Yi Shyan.

Besides Singapore, the AAG connects neighbours such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines to the US. It is one of several submarine cable systems StarHub has invested in to cater to the ballooning bandwidth demands from local and regional Internet users.

Its latest planned investment is in the Asia-Pacific Gateway which was unveiled in June this year, an 8,000km cable system to link up several countries in the region.

StarHub also has stakes in the APCN2 and the East Asia Crossing.

Leave a Reply