AAG cable finally opens

The trans-Pacific Asia America Gateway (AAG) club cable finally went live this week,  a year behind its initial timetable.
 
Nineteen carriers, including AT&T, PLDT, Telstra, Bharti, Telekom Malaysia and StarHub, have invested in the 20,000-km cable, which connects every southeast Asian market with Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast.
 
Built by Alcatel-Lucent and NEC, it has a design capacity of 1.92 Tbps and has been lit at an initial 500 Gbps.
 
The partners said when announcing the cable in April 2007 that it would cost $500 million and open for service in the fourth quarter of 2008.  An environmental application in Hong Kong in October 2007 also forecast completion last year.
 
The biggest capacity owner on the cable, Telstra, said it would be able to offer a new low latency route from southeast Asia to North America.
 
PLDT said the AAG was the first cable to directly connect the Philippines and the US, enabling it to double capacity to more than 250 Gbps. Two other Philippines carriers, Bayan and Eastern, are investors.
 
AAG is one of a series of cables now being lit in the region. Another trans-Pacific cable, the Google-invested Unity, is in its final stages of construction and will start service in early 2010.
 
The Tata-backed TGN-Intra-Asia Cablerunning from Singapore to Japan, was progressively lit in southeast Asian markets early this year.
 
The full list of AAG partners: AT&T, BayanTel, Bharti, BT Global Network Services, CAT Telecom, ETPI, PCP Company Limited, PLDT, PT Indosat, REACH, Saigon Postel Corporation, StarHub, Telekom Malaysia, TELKOM Indonesia, Telstra, the Government of Brunei Darussalam, TNZL, Viettel, and VNPT.

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