PLDT to nearly double int'l submarine cable capacity to 8.4 Tbps by 2019

MANILA, Philippines— Manuel V. Pangilinan led PLDT Incorporated said its investments will double its international cable system capacity to address the need for overseas data connectivity.

"Further expansion programs to meet expected rapid growth in demand for internet as well as other services requiring international facilities in the next two plans is expected to bring total capacity to 8.413 Terabits per second (Tbps) by end-2019,” the telco said in a statement on November 17.

By the end of this year, PLDT said the total capacity of its international submarine cable links, including non-Philippines terminating links, will reach 4.497 Tbps. PLDT said it would be a nearly 140% increase in capacity from end-2015, when it stood at 1.889 Tbps.

The expansion is predicated on two international cable systems, notably its P7-billion ($136.7 million) investment in a new Trans-Pacific cable system called “Jupiter” which will speed up connections to the United States and Japan.

It is being built by a consortium of etch firms including Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank, PCCW Global, and NTT Communications and has an approximate total length of 14,000 kilometers.

It set to deliver a capacity of more than 60 Tbps from the Philippines directly to the United States and Japan and will be ready for service in early 2020.

PLDT VP and Head of International Network Gene Sanchez noted that participants in the Jupiter cable system are acquiring the fiber cables themselves, not just a share of the system’s fiber capacity. 

Sanchez explained this method “allows PLDT to increase the capacity of its own fiber links by investing in the terminal technologies that boost data throughput. Unlike in other cable system, PLDT does not have to wait for the upgrade cycle of the consortium.”

PLDT’s participation in the Jupiter cable consortium also follows its move to partner Hong Kong-based PCCW Global to acquire capacity in the 25,000 km Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) Cable System in 2014, which is set to open this year.

Growing Philippine cable links

PLDT is not alone in its investments in undersea cables. In a bid to address the slow average internet speeds, even the government getting in on the act.

Earlier this week, government agencies Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced it will partner with Facebook to build and operate a submarine cable system that would land  on the east and west coasts of Luzon in a project called SECURE GovNet.

With Facebook’s participation, the planned ultra high-speed internet infrastructure set to provide capacity that almost equal to the current combined capacity of Globe Telecom Incorporated and PLDT according to the DICT.

Last August, PLDT rival Globe Telecom launched its own connection with a $250 million Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) submarine cable system. –