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PLDT invests P7 billion for new trans-Pacific cable to US, Japan

Telecommunications giant PLDT Inc. is investing $136.7 million or P7 billion in a trans-Pacific cable system linking to the US and Japan.

In a statement on Wednesday, PLDT said the telco has finalized the technical and management agreements with a consortium of international providers that will "further increase its international capacity and resiliency of its direct undersea fiber links to the United States and Japan through the trans-Pacific cable system called 'JUPITER'."

The consortium includes global companies such as Amazon, Facebook, SoftBank, PCCW Global and NTT Communications.

The new undersea cable project spans 14,000 kilometers and will connect to PLDT’s cable landing station in Daet, Camarines Norte.

The project will provide additional capacity of more than 22 terabytes per second (Tbps) from the Philippines directly to and from Japan, and 17.6Tbps to the West Coast in the US, the telco said.

The new cable system is expected to be completed and operational by third quarter of next year. It will use new technology that will allow PLDT and other consortium participants to quickly upgrade capacity in response to growing data traffic and customer data usage, it added.

“This investment is of strategic importance given that a significant amount of content are downloaded by data users from servers abroad, particularly from the United States and Japan," PLDT chief revenue officer Alfred Panlilio said.

The addition of JUPITER, PLDT said positions the telco to serve international connectivity requirements better, particularly for enterprise customers.

“JUPITER not only provides increased capacity going to business-relevant markets, it likewise adds strategic diversity options out of multiple international cable system routes and cable landing stations which businesses can choose from," Jovy Hernandez, head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Group, said.

Under an "open cable model," PLDT said consortium participants in the JUPITER cable system are acquiring the fiber cables themselves, not just a share of the system’s fiber capacity.

This enables PLDT and other consortium participants to quickly increase their undersea cable capacity without having to wait for the upgrade cycle of the consortium that is followed in most cable system models, the telco noted.

“This new model in constructing international cable systems will allow us to be more agile and responsive to the needs of our customers,” PLDT vice president for International Submarine Cable Networks Gene Sanchez said.

“We expect that this new project will further complement our existing network systems and address the increasing data traffic consumption of our PLDT fiber-to-the-home subscribers, enterprise business customers, and our LTE mobile data users,” Sanchez said. — Ted Cordero/BM, GMA News