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Asia Netcom, C2C become one

Regional submarine cable networks East Asia Crossing and C2C have merged, promising better connectivity and quicker recovery when disaster strikes.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Regional carrier Asia Netcom has merged its East Asia Crossing (EAC) system with the C2C network, and will take full control of the combined submarine cable network.

Asia Netcom, a company of Connect Holdings which also owns the C2C network, announced Thursday that the merger enables a next-generation communications network to be built by establishing a stronger link with full connection between the two systems.

Speaking at a press briefing here, Asia Netcom CTO Wilfred Kwan said this will ensure a much quicker recovery of the system in the event of a natural disaster, such as last year's Taiwan quake.

Kwan said a similar disaster involving the severance of multiple cables will take a far shorter time for recovery of the new system. "With the combined network, connection ought to be back up in a matter of hours, not days," he said.

The two networks will see various upgrades, including expanded capacity of the existing ring architecture where more links will be added between points. The upgrade is estimated to cost between US$200 million and US$300 million over the next three years.

The importance of an upgraded Asian network is growing amidst rising demand for broadband services in the region, said Asia Netcom CEO Bill Barney. "Since 2001, investment in Asia's undersea cables has been limited," he said.

Barney added, in his presentation, that Asia accounts for over half of the world's broadband Internet users.

"The huge appetite for bandwidth and new applications like video and telepresence solutions makes the next-generation network a fit for the region," said Asia Netcom's head honcho.

Barney said that Internet traffic in the region is becoming more intra-Asian, meaning that data is flowing between the countries here. "The amount of data being exchanged with the United States is declining," said Barney.

The C2C network spans 17,000km and comprises three rings linking Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan.

Asia Netcom has recently acquired Singapore-based Internet service provider Pacific Internet. According to Barney, the final merger should happen "by June 2008".

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