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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bandwidth boost under way

Bandwidth boost under way

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Fuelled by downward pressure on internet pricing, state-owned Telecom Cambodia had dramatically increased its fibre-optic link with Vietnam, officials and experts said.

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The new 10-gigabyte connection would further lower prices and boost the speed of Cambodian internet connections in a market where demand for bandwidth was driven by wireless internet users.

The bandwidth available in Cambodia still far exceeded internet users’ ability to use it, insiders said.

Telecom Cambodia chief executive Lao Saroeun said yesterday the company was still working to price access to the upgraded link, but it would be available soon.

The company partnered with state-owned Viet Nam Telecom International to launch the “superhighway” network.

Cambodia has had a number of upgrades to its broadband capacity in the past two years, but is still far behind Thailand and Vietnam’s volume of bandwidth downloaded.

Ezecom, an internet service provider and one of four fibre-optic wholesalers licensed for cross-border services, had upgraded to a 10-gigabyte connection 18 months ago and was poised to lift speeds to 100 gigabytes, CEO Paul Blanche-Horgan said yesterday.

Cambodia’s geographic position could make it part of an ASEAN-wide “broadband corridor”, he said.

“Regional traffic handled by us is growing quite fast, given that Cambodia is en route the vital terrestrial link from Thailand to Hong Kong.”

Internet service providers had reported continued high demand for bandwidth, Heath Shan, the CEO of wholesale fibre provider NTC, said.

“There is tremendous growth in the requirement for bandwidth in Cambodia. Some [ISPs] are saying 100 per cent growth per year,” Shan said.

Exponential increases in demand were concentrated not in fixed connections in households or office buildings, but in wireless connections such as third-generation mobile services and internet dongles, which connect to computer USB ports, Shan said.

Demand for bandwidth in Cambodia was split about 50-50 between fixed-fibre connections and mobile operators, who were most likely seeing jumps in 3G users, he said.

Fixed-fibre connections would become more accessible to Cambodian households as prices fell, Shan said.

Boosts in bandwidth such as Telecom Cambodia’s recent move were attempts to compete with continually falling prices, but supply was still much greater than that demanded by the country’s estimated 600,000 internet users, he said.

“What’s available here is far more than Cambodia can consume.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Weinland at don.weinland@phnompenhpost.com

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