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NEC appointed to build Asia Pacific submarine cable

The cable will span 9,400 kilometres and is expected to be completed at the end of 2022.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

NEC has been appointed by the Asia Direct Cable (ADC) Consortium to build a 9,400-kilometre submarine cable that will connect Hong Kong, China's Guangdong province, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022, the cable will be designed to carry more than 140Tbps of traffic to enable the transmission of data from the East and Southeast Asian regions.         

Members behind the ADC Consortium include Singtel, CAT, China Telecom, China Unicom, PLDT, SoftBank, Tata Communications, and Viettel.

"The ADC system provides the highest cable capacity and necessary diversity for Asia's key information hubs, which will enable carriers and service providers to better plan their networks and services for a sustainable development," said Chang Weiguo, one of the ADC co-chairs from China Telecom.

NEC is also charged with building the 144Tbps Southeast Asia Japan 2 cable (SJC2).  

The 10,500km cable will have 11 landing stations -- located in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, and South Korea, with a pair of landings in Taiwan and Japan -- and be made up of eight pairs of optical fibre.

While it was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, Ooi Seng Keat, vice president of carrier services, OTT, and satellites, group enterprise at Singtel, said SJC2 will now be completed next year.

"The Asia Direct Cable we're building will meet the rapidly growing demand for high-speed connectivity for advanced technologies such as 5G, IoT-related services, and high-definition video in the economically dynamic regions of East and Southeast Asia," he said.

"The new cable will enhance our infrastructure and also our ability to harness new technologies for future growth. Together with the Southeast Asia Japan Cable 2 system to be completed next year, the Asia Direct Cable will boost diversity and resilience of our global network."

Image: Singtel

Singtel is also a member of the consortium behind SJC2 project.   

Earlier this week, NEC Australia also announced the appointment of Mike Mrdak as the company's inaugural non-executive chairperson.

Mrdak was secretary of the Australian Department of Communications until February this year when the number of federal departments was reduced to 14

Mrdak also previously held deputy secretary roles at both the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Transport and Regional Services.  

"Whether it be solutions in transport, major infrastructure, public safety, telecommunications and 5G, my goal is to help NEC support public and private organisations throughout Australia as our economy transitions out of pandemic restrictions," Mrdak said of his new role at NEC. 

"This will necessitate digital transformation across a range of product and service areas. Something I am very keen to ensure NEC Australia is at the forefront of."

NEC also recently signed a deal with Rakuten Mobile to jointly develop the containerised standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) that will be used in Rakuten Mobile's 5G network.

The 5GC will be based on software developed by NEC and will be offered as an application on the Rakuten Communications Platform marketplace to allow customers to easily deploy a virtualised SA 5GC solution.  

Rakuten Mobile said the deal is part of the company's goal to provide SA 5G service in Japan by 2021. 

"Our partnership with NEC represents a joint collaboration to build an open, secure, and highly scalable 4G and 5G cloud-native converged core, that will also become a key feature of the highly competitive services we will offer to global customers through the Rakuten Communications Platform," Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin said.  

Elsewhere, NEC is working with Sumitomo as part of an agreement with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to trial the installation of smart poles in the Nishi-Shinjuku area of Tokyo by the end of this month. 

As part of the trial, two models of NEC's smart street lighting, equipped with functions such as digital signage and pedestrian traffic flow analysis cameras, will be tested under "ordinary and emergency circumstances". One model will be outfitted with a 5G shared antenna system for joint use by multiple telecommunications carriers, while the other, a site-sharing model, will be equipped with 5G base stations for multiple telecommunications carriers.

NEC said the trial is being carried out as part of a wider aim to roll out 5G shared antenna systems across Tokyo by March 2021 to collect data to help develop services for Tokyo residents and visitors.


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