8 November 2022

A consortium of telecommunications companies has signed agreements to invest about $300 million for a submarine cable system in Southeast Asia that aims to boost data capacity in the region and upgrade local capacities.

The group is composed of China Telecom Global Limited (CTG) of China, Globe Telecom, Inc. (Globe) and DITO Telecommunity Corporation (DITO) of the Philippines, Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) of Singapore, and Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) of Brunei Darussalam.

The planned Asia Link Cable (ALC) will be approximately 6,000 kilometers in length, connecting Hong Kong SAR China and Singapore as its trunk, with branches into the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Hainan, China. HMN Technologies Co., Limited (HMN Tech) was awarded as the system supplier and is expected to complete construction of the ALC by the third quarter of 2025.

ALC is seen to provide additional hyper-capacity within Asia and boost resiliency for international traffic. It will have a minimum eight fiber pairs in the system, with 18 Tbps/Fiber Pair minimum trunk design capacity, adding more capacity and diversity to existing networks in the region.

ALC Co-Chair Chang Weiguo (CTG) pointed out, “ALC is a great accomplishment of Asian carriers which overcame difficulties of Covid impacts, and it is also the only subsea project with zero face-to-face meetings from the MoU to the C&MA (construction and maintenance agreement) signing in the industry. ALC consortium adopts an open and inclusive principle and will attract more investors in the near future to make it more cost effective, which will reinforce the resilience of interconnectivity in Asia and better serve digital economy in the region.”

ALC Co-Chair, Alan Tan (Singtel) said: “We started planning and designing the ALC cable more than two years ago at the onset of the pandemic, having anticipated the inevitable growth in high-definition content consumption, trade and innovation in this region. Despite the challenges presented by safe management restrictions, we managed to come up with a system that will help meet the evolving needs of consumers and enterprises and boost local economies today and in the near future.”

CEO of HMN Tech, Mao Shengjiang, meanwhile, said: “It is a great honor for HMN Tech to team up with the global leading telecom operators to provide innovative turnkey subsea cable solution for the ALC System. This new cable system will provide new impetus for the ALC consortium to establish digital and intelligent networks in Asia and around the world.”

An open cable system architecture is adopted for ALC, enabling parties to select and maintain independent line terminal equipment that would suit their customer requirement.

With strategic locations and bullish digital growth prospects in mind, there has been increased interest to interconnect the trans-Asian region, enriching the infrastructure for prospective customers. This subsea cable system will help enhance the existing facilities in catering future requirements in the region.