First Submarine Cable Launches To Boost Cambodia’s Internet

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Interior Minister Sar Kheng (left, closest to the screen) and Kith Meng, president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, launch the $100-million MCT submarine cable. KHMER TIMES / SUPPLIED

Cambodia’s first submarine telecoms cable, which was built at a cost of $100 million, was officially launched yesterday, strengthening existing internet capacity and greatly increasing connectivity speed at a lower price for consumers.

The 1,300-km long fiber optic cable system is a joint-venture between Cambodia’s Telcothech, a subsidiary of Ezecom, Malaysia-based Telekom Malaysia Berhad and Thailand-based Symphony Communication Public Company Limited. Dubbed as the MCT (Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand) cable, it has a capacity of at least 30 Terabits per second.

According to Paul Blanche-Horgan, CEO of Ezecom Telcotech, the MCT cable has three pivotal landing stations – Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Rayong in Thailand and Kuantan in Malaysia. “It gives us a direct route from Cambodia to Malaysia, Thailand and beyond to Singapore, China’s Hong Kong, and the rest of the world,” said Blanche-Horgan.

“With this $100 million joint venture, Cambodia will experience faster and more reliable internet speed, the effect of which will trickle down through the whole industry all the way to Cambodian end-users,” he added.

“The project will benefit the wider region as well. Our neighbours will find it easier to connect with Cambodia, opening up opportunities for cultural exchange, business partnerships and other forms of cooperation. The project was undertaken in the spirit of ASEAN unity and today’s launch clearly highlights the success of multinational cooperation.”

Blanche-Horgan said the MCT cable will also connect to other submarine systems, including Telcothec – the only Cambodian member of the Asia-America Gateway – and the 20,000-km long submarine communication cable which links Southeast Asia to the United States.

Moa Chakrya, chairman of the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia, told Khmer Times earlier that Cambodia currently is only connected via landlines to neighboring countries, and the new submarine cable will both increase internet speeds, and lower costs.

Acting Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng who presided over the launch of the MCT cable said it was a milestone for the country’s telecommunications sector. “We do hope that the launch of the MCT submarine cable system will be a historical event for the country. It will provide the fastest and most reliable internet speed at competitive prices,” he said. “With the undersea communications cable, I believe that Internet and Facebook users will also enjoy faster connections.”

Tram Ivtek, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications said that currently approximately 50 percent of the kingdom’s nearly 15 million people have access to internet. “I am really confident that the MCT submarine cable system will bridge the gap between the digitally connected and unconnected in the city and rural areas. I do believe that the number of internet users will keep increasing even more,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.