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Fibre-optic network online

THE final length of a US$17.6 million fibre-optic telecommunications network linking Cambodia with other Greater Mekong Subregion countries began operation yesterday.

Officials say the new 651-kilometre transmission line to Laos will increase the Kingdom’s communication speeds by linking the country to a regional backbone already connecting Thailand, China, Vietnam and Laos.

“This will improve living conditions for people in the GSM countries, as the entire network is now in place,” Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun said at the launch yesterday.

Part of the GMS Information Superhighway project, the latest links were built by Chinese telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei Technologies for a total of $17.6 million, according to a project summary. The links have a network capacity of 2.5 gigabytes per second.

So Khun said construction was financed by a soft loan from China’s state-owned Export-Import Bank, and that the new network was under the control of Telecom Cambodia and Enterprise Telecom Laos.

Increased telecommunication speeds would prove an economic boon to the Kingdom, he said.

It will “increase national income by promoting development of ICT, exchanging new technology and information, and transmit voice, video, data and internet traffic widely to the world at an acceptable price.”

Stretching from Kampong Cham to the Laos border along National Road 7, and from Skun city in Kampong Cham province to Siem Reap along National Road 6, work laying the new cable wrapped up in July 2009, according to Telecom Cambodia director general Lao Saroeun.

Work has been conducted over the past year to increase the capacity of the network to send data at “super-fast” speeds, he said yesterday at the launch event.

Lao Saroeun said the fibre-optic network had already played a role in strengthening cooperation within the GMS, promoting economic growth within the region.

Telecom Cambodia would also be able to begin providing services to customers living in provinces surrounding the Tonle Sap lake, he added.

The original memorandum of understanding establishing the GMS Information Superhighway project was initiated by China and signed by the six regional nations in December 2004. Work on the latest line began at the end of 2007.

Laos’s Minister and President of the National Authority of Posts and Telecommunications Khamlouat Sidlakone predicted operating the cable would improve its economic ties with Cambodia.

“It will facilitate the development of trades and tourism between the two neighbouring nations,” he said yesterday. “It is not only a benefit
of the people of the two nations, but also in other GMS countries.”

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