The Cambodian government signed a $70 million investment agreement with a Chinese-owned telecommunication infrastructure provider on Wednesday to connect Cambodia to a 25,000-km underwater fiber-optic network spanning three continents.
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MPT) signed a 25-year concession agreement with Cambodia Fiber Optic Cable Network (CFOCN), on 2 March to build a landing station in Sihanoukville and lay an underwater fibre-optic cable that patches into the existing AAE-1 cable, one of the main high-speed data conduits linking Asian, African and European countries.
The project will enable Cambodia for the first time an independent international bandwidth exports, so it is high hopes. CFOCN, a subsidiary of Singapore-based HyalRoute Communication Group, currently has 7,600 kilometres of fibre-optic cable in the Kingdom.
Secretary of State for the Cambodian Ministry of Posts and Gan Jiang Mehta told the media that the current total population of Internet users in Cambodia 45 %, about 650 million people, after the completion of the project, the proportion of Internet users in the country is expected to reach 80% in 2020. "I am convinced that this project will greatly promote the development of information and communication technologies in Cambodia," he said.
HyalRoute Group said in a statement that the contract would move forward its on-going project of Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) Submarine Cable Cambodia Branch to the stage of construction.
The AAE-1 Submarine Cable, a next-generation cable system built by an all-star consortium of 19 global telecoms, ventures to be the largest (25,000 km) and the newest cable to link major Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European nations via the lowest latency subsea route for over 15 years, the statement said.
A rival project announced in June 2014 envisions laying a connection between Cambodia and the Asia Submarine Express (SEA), a 7,800-kilometre underwater cable that runs from Malaysia and Singapore to Japan, with several offshoots.