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Telstra building more fibre, subsea cables across Asia-Pacific

Telstra has announced four new projects for improving its subsea cable system in Asia, including a Taiwan-Hong Kong fibre route and a fibre ring in South Korea.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has announced that it will be building a fibre overland route between Taiwan and Hong Kong, a fibre ring network in South Korea, and a submarine cable connecting its networks in Asia to India and the Middle East, as well as securing capacity on a new cable system connecting Asia with the United States.

The measures were announced as part of Telstra's ongoing investment in the 36,000km cable network system connecting China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, which the telco acquired as part of purchasing Pacnet for $697 million in December 2014.

The new overland fibre network being constructed by Telstra in Taiwan circumvents the natural disaster-prone Luzon Strait region, unlike the other cables already present for the route between Taipei and Hong Kong, meaning less downtime from services being disrupted.

The fibre link will be connected to Telstra's submarine cables in that area.

"This new dual-fibre network is enabled as part of Telstra's Optical Transport Network," said Telstra executive director of International Operations and Services Darrin Webb.

"It will introduce the shortest and fastest route available in the market between Taipei, Kaoshiung, and Hong Kong, with lower risk of disruption than services passing through the Luzon Strait."

The telecommunications provider will also be building out a new fibre ring connecting its current points of presence (PoPs) in South Korea, providing eight 100Gbps interconnection routes in and out of the country.

The Korean "ring topology" fibre network will enable more reliability and redundancy options across the network, also connecting to additional submarine cables.

The new Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) 100Gbps submarine cable system, made up of three fibre pairs, will be around 8,000km long and will connect Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, Telstra said.

"BBG is designed to provide highly upgradable facilities by adopting the state-of-the-art 100Gbps technology, meaning our customers can access one of the fastest routes available between Singapore and the Middle East," Webb said.

Once the BBG and the Europe India Gateway (EIG) subsea cables are combined, Telstra customers will be able to directly connect from Asia to Europe.

Lastly, Telstra has obtained capacity on the new trans-pacific "FASTER" 10,000km subsea cable system connecting Japan with the west coast of the United States. The subsea cable, consisting of six fibre pairs, makes use of 10Gbps wave technology.

"The FASTER cable system provides a high-capacity route from Japan to the United States, and supports further development of Telstra's new PoP capabilities in Seattle, which enables us to provide flexible, high-capacity services between these regions using Telstra's software-defined networking solution," Webb said.

The new services are being launched in response to the mass uptake of data services, according to Webb.

"We already own and operate the largest intra-Asia subsea network, representing around 30 percent of total active capacity," Webb said.

"These enhancements further extend our capacity, and will support the provision of our leading technologies, such as Telstra's PEN software-defined networking and cloud, security, and unified communications services."

Telstra in March also entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to construct a high-capacity Perth to Singapore subsea cable alongside Singtel and SubPartners.

The cable, named APX-West, will be 4,500km long, with two fibre pairs providing a minimum of 10 Terabits per second capacity each pair and two-way data transmission. It will replace the slower-speed SEA-ME-WE 3 (SMW3) cable, which currently carries data traffic between the two countries.

This is the second attempt at constructing APX-West; Telstra had initially signed an MoU with SubPartners for capacity on the subsea cable more than three years ago, in March 2013.

The companies will begin constructing APX-West at the end of July, with completion expected by 2018.

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