Vietnam telcos join Facebook in major Asia undersea network

TN News

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An illustration of a new optic fiber network laid by Asian telecom firms and Facebook

Vietnam's Internet network is likely to improve following the installation of an Southeast and East Asian undersea network in cooperation with Facebook in which leading telecom firms Viettel and VNPT have invested.

The US$450-million Asia Submarine-cable Express is designed to quadruple capacity in the regions to over 40 terrabytes, SGE, a Singapore-based news site, reported.

The optic fiber system, which was completed on August 10, stretches 10,000 kilometers between Malaysia and South Korea, with branches to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.

It is connected to major network systems in Europe and the Middle East, and not directly to the network in US, where Facebook's servers are based.

A Viettel source confirmed that the military-run telecom firm is joining the project along with VNPT Vietnam's Post and Telecommunication Group.

But both refused to comment further or reveal how much they have invested, news website VnExpress reported Thursday.

Other investors include mainland China's China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom; Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom; South Korea's KT and LG Uplus; Japan's NTT; Singapore's StarHub; Malaysia's Time dotCom; and the Philippines's PLDT.

PLDT president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno was quoted in a report Tuesday by Filipino GMANews as saying "This is the largest-capacity international submarine cable system ever to land in the Philippines.

"It is also the most secure."

The network is designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, and is expected to become operational in the third quarter 2014 with a carrying capacity of 54.8 terabits, using a 40Gbps throughput upgradable to 100Gbps.

China, the world's most populated country, currently blocks access to Facebook.

BBC reports said the project can provide "a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore," and that it reflects "Facebook's journey into the East" where it has high growth potential, given that its growth in the US had "slowed sharply."

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