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Telstra invests in two new submarine cables to bolster Asia-US connectivity

The Hong Kong Americas and Pacific Light Cable Network cables will provide more robust connectivity to support the Asia-Pacific region’s growing internet traffic

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Australian telco Telstra is investing in two subsea cables that will connect Hong Kong and the US west coast, shoring up connectivity between Asia and the US.

Slated for completion by 2020, the new Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable, for which Telstra is investing in a half fibre pair, will support the growing internet traffic between Greater China, ASEAN and the US. Other members in the HKA consortium include China Telecom, Facebook and Tata Communications.

In addition, Telstra is buying six terabits per second worth of capacity in the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will connect Hong Kong and the US when ready in 2019.

By offering more direct routes, the two subsea cables will provide lower latency connectivity between the US and Asia than the current Asia-America Gateway (AAG), according to Telstra.

“As economic growth continues in China and South East Asia, so too does the demand for data,” said David Burns, Telstra’s group managing director of global services and international.

“Together with the current AAG cable, on which Telstra carries the most traffic today, these two investments will provide us with increased capacity across the important Hong Kong to US route, one of the fastest growing routes in the world for capacity demand,” he added.

With the PLCN and HKA, enterprises can also expect more resilient connectivity to the US by bypassing areas prone to storms and earthquakes that have led to cuts in submarine cables in recent years.

In December 2017, the ageing SEA-ME-WE3 submarine cable that links Australia to Southeast Asia was cut for the third time within a year, underscoring the urgent need for a more robust connection to support the region’s growing internet traffic.

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Vocus International, a network service provider, is already working on the Australia Singapore Cable, a 4,600km submarine cable system linking Perth to Singapore via Jakarta in Indonesia. Vocus is expected to lay the cable in early 2018 between Singapore and Christmas Island.

A high-powered regional consortium comprising Google, Australian research network AARNet, telcos Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel and Telstra, and SubPartners is also building the 9,000km Indigo subsea cable that will link Singapore with Perth, and onwards to Sydney.

With landing stations in Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, Indigo – to be constructed by Alcatel Submarine Networks – will also allow connections between Singapore and Jakarta.

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