Asia Link Cable subsea network installation to start in 2024
The cable-laying activities for the $300-million Asia Link Cable (ALC)—a regional project seen to increase data capacity amid the rising digitalization—may start in 2024, according to a consortium member.
Rodolfo Santiago, DITO Telecommunity chief technology officer, told the Inquirer the cables for the 6,000-kilometer submarine system were expected to be laid in two years to meet the 2025 deadline for activation.
Santiago said preparations were being done first, including the actual construction of the fiber cables and regulatory requirements.
“I would venture to say that the preparation will start around second quarter of next year,” he said.
In November, it was announced that DITO and Globe Telecom Inc. had formed part of the ALC consortium. Other members were China Telecom Global Ltd. of China, Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) of Singapore and Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd of Brunei Darussalam.
The cable network, which is designed to have a minimum trunk capacity of 18 terabits per second in each fiber pair, will connect Hong Kong SAR China and Singapore to Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Hainan, China. For the project, HMN Technologies Co. Ltd. was tapped to do the construction.
Santiago explained that investing in such infrastructure was crucial to meet the growing needs for data consumption.
“The explosion of the requirements for data, internet connection, requires additional international capacity,” he said.
He noted that DITO was currently in talks with other companies for projects of the same nature.
Next year, the telco is committed to spend P27 billion in capital expenditure, lower than this year’s P50 billion, as it nears its 80-percent population target. The third telco player now covers 74 percent of the population, Santiago earlier said.
“What we are focusing on is really to increase the coverage and, at the same time, improve the customer experience,” he said.
DITO currently has a subscriber base of 15 million.
In January to September, its parent DITO CME Holdings Corp. reported that net losses had ballooned by 167 percent to P14.21 billion on higher costs and foreign currency exchange losses. Still, consolidated revenues for the period grew by more than five times to P5.04 billion from P1.08 billion a year ago.
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