Gateway to Asia, America goes live

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable network announced the completion of its comprehensive test requirement for the project that will link Brunei and other Southeast Asian nations with East Asia and the United States.

In a press statement yesterday, Brunei's Ministry of Communications said the completion of the project will now enable AAG to carry commercial traffic.

The AAG consortium was formed in April 2007, to build the 2 Tbit/s fibre optic submarine cable system.

To enable Brunei to participate in the consortium, a joint-venture agreement was signed on July 13 between His Majesty's Government through its investment vehicle, Brooketon Sendirian Berhad, and the two telecommunication providers Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) and DST Group, represented by DST International (B) Sdn Bhd.

The agreement was for the creation of Brunei International Gateway (BIG) to carry on the business of an investment holding and trading company. BIG participates in the AAG Submarine Cable Project operation.

Brunei Darussalam is one of the brand landing party with investments amounting to US$40 million, of which US$30 million is from the Brunei Government, US$5 million from Telekom Brunei Berhad and US$5 million from DST Group.

In a press statement, the ministry stated that the "fully operational AAG cable system is the first cable system ever to link Southeast Asia direct to the USA and will link Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Hong Kong and the Philippines direct to the United States, where it lands in Guam, Hawaii and California".

The AAG is the first cable system of its kind to directly link the region to the US, consisting of a 20,000km fibre optic cable network that will connect 10 different locations in eight countries across the Asia Pacific region.

According to the project's website, completion of the AAG is expected to "revolutionise high bandwidth delivery between Asia and the US". Designed for broadband traffic, it will provide diversity in traditional routes to the US and ensure alternate routes, expanded capacity and high levels of service during potential disasters.

The AAG bypasses the most seismically volatile areas in volcanic and earthquake-prone "Pacific ring of fire". Two of the main East Asia telecommunications arteries in the region, the SeaMeWe 3 (Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe 3) and APCN2 (Asia Pacific Cable Network 2) undersea cables, were damaged in December 2006 following a series of powerful earthquakes off the coast of Taiwan that disrupted Asia's voice and data communications within the region and the rest of the world.

Officials of the consortium said the cable system is designed to provide a bandwidth capacity of up to 1.92 Terabits per second of data. The gateway allows future transmission facilities projects to be upgraded to support faster Internet and e-commerce traffic.

"Apart from linking the high growth Southeast Asia markets to the United States of America, the cable system also provides seamless connectivity to India, Europe and even Africa via common landing countries along its routes," AAG said in a statement. The Brunei Times