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Business

PLDT to fast track construction of cable landing stations

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
PLDT to fast track construction of cable landing stations
PLDT vice president and global capacity strategy head Gene Sanchez told The STAR that PLDT would attempt to complete its cable landing stations in Aurora and Davao within the first half of 2024.
BusinessWorld / File

MANILA, Philippines — Telco giant PLDT plans to fast-track the construction of its cable landing stations in Aurora and Davao as it eyes to invest in three new subsea fiber links set to cross Asia and the Pacific.

PLDT vice president and global capacity strategy head Gene Sanchez told The STAR that PLDT would attempt to complete its cable landing stations in Aurora and Davao within the first half of 2024.

The Aurora and Davao cable terminals will serve as the base stations for the $80-million Apricot cable system that will add 35 terabits per second in PLDT’s international capacity.

“We will try to finish the Aurora and Davao cable landing stations at around early 2024, both of them. The groundbreaking for the two are almost simultaneous—I think it’s just about one or two months apart—for the Apricot cable system,” Sanchez said.

Upon completion, he said PLDT can pursue its plan to invest in another three submarine cable systems as part of efforts to expand its capacity to host large-scale transfer of data. Also, the telco would have two cable terminals facing the Pacific, making it easier to hook up to data offices in the US.

However, PLDT is trying to circumvent geopolitical issues involving maritime disputes between the Philippines and China in the three new projects it is looking at, especially as they may pass through waters claimed by Beijing.

“We are considering at the moment three new projects. All of those projects have politics to deal with, avoiding the nine-dash line. They will connect Asia to North America,” Sanchez said.

“When Aurora and Davao are finished, we will just alternate our cable landings coming from the Pacific when they come,” he said.

PLDT used to own a cable landing station in Baler, Aurora that the country uses to transmit voice calls to and from foreign locations. That cable terminal also served the American bases for military purposes.

The Apricot cable system will host trunk stations in Guam, Japan and Singapore. It is banked on by PLDT to improve the efficiency and speed of data transfer among Asia Pacific economies.

The Pangilinan-led telco wants to reach one petabit per second in international capacity within the next 10 years to gear up for the potential influx of tech investments into the Philippines.

At present, PLDT expects to boost its data capacity to 96 terabits per second once it fires up in 2023 the $75 million Asia Direct Cable that will link to East and Southeast Asian countries.

PLDT

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