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PH-HK cable link eyed

/ 05:08 AM November 21, 2018

China Telecom, the state-run firm that joined the consortium that won the Duterte administration’s third telco initiative, announced a plan to build a submarine cable to the Philippines as part of an offer to improve the quality of internet services and potentially bring down costs.

This was announced on Tuesday during a courtesy call with officials from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and National Telecommunications Commission, which a day before confirmed the consortium known as Mislatel as the new major telco player.

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According to China Telecom, its submarine cable will directly link the Philippines to Hong Kong and the United States.

Most of the internet that users experience is possible through massive amounts of data traveling around the globe via submarine cables.

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Pierre Galla, co-founder at advocacy group Democracy.Net.PH, said that more data infrastructure, including undersea cables linking the Philippines to the rest of the world, would ultimately result to better internet services.

He added that the Philippines holds a strategic geographic location as far as undersea cables are concerned.

“The Philippines, because of our location, is best suited to be the global hub for Asia and Oceania,” Galla said on Tuesday.

China Telecom is studying the use of a cable landing station that is being built by the Philippine government in Luzon. This is the same landing station that will host other cables, including one being built by a consortium that includes social media giant Facebook.

Mislatel said in a statement on Tuesday that China Telecom’s undersea cable would use optical fiber technology to carry signal and digital data, including telephone and internet traffic.

“With this submarine broadband infrastructure, DICT in cooperation with China Telecom hopes to ease up traffic and speed up internet connectivity, making it more accessible, reliable and affordable for more Filipinos,” the statement showed.

Mislatel is led by Filipino company Udenna Corp., led by businessman Dennis A. Uy, and China Telecom.

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In its bid, Mislatel promised a minimum average internet speed of 27 megabits per second on its first year. This compares to the Philippines’s current mobile speed of 6.03 Mbps as measured by OpenSignal last September. Mislatel said its internet speed will rise to 55 Mbps for the remainder of the five-year commitment period.

The consortium also committed to spend P257 billion and bring coverage to 84 percent of the population in five years.

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