PPTel: Sarawak will be centre of Internet superhighway soon

By Karen Bong, Ling Hui and Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, June 22: Sarawak will be at the centre of an Internet superhighway in the Southeast Asia region through the Batam Sarawak Internet Cable System (BaSIC Cable System) and upcoming South-East Asia Hainan-Hongkong Express Cable System (SEA-H2X) submarine cable system.

PP Telecommunication Sdn Bhd (PPTel) chief executive officer Dr Jonathan Smith noted that Sarawak is a relatively small market in the telecommunications industry as its population is not as large and scattered as its neighbours.

“However, the State is strategically located between two massive populations where we have China and other countries in the north of Malaysia, as well as Indonesia.

“A lot of (data) traffic will come through Kuching in order to go from the east to west of Indonesia, and from China down to Indonesia. Those are huge population centres,” he said during the ‘Spot On’ interview with DayakDaily today.

He was referring to PPTel’s investment in its BaSIC Cable System which connects Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia) and Batam (Indonesia), consisting 6 fiber pairs for a total system capacity of 48 Tbps (TeraBits per second).

The system forms the shortest latency route from Sarawak to Singapore, less than 9ms (milliseconds) between PPTel data centre @Santubong 1 and Equinix Singapore SG3.

Meanwhile, the SEA-H2X is a submarine cable system, which upon completion, will connect Hong Kong SAR China, Hainan China, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia (Borneo Island) and Singapore. The cable system will land at PPTel’s Santubong Cable Landing Station in Kuching.

The SEA-H2X consortium comprises China Mobile International Limited (CMI), China Unicom Global (CUG) , Converge Information and Communications Technology Solutions, Inc. (Converge) and PPTEL SEA H2X Sdn. Bhd (PPTEL SEA-H2X). The SEA-H2X Consortium selects HMN Technologies Co., Limited (HMN Tech) to build the system.

Following this development, Dr Smith informed that the wonderful byproduct is that PPTel can invest and provide high speed Internet to Sarawak.

On April 16, 2022, PPTel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Sains) and Sacofa Sdn Bhd (Sacofa) to collaborate from providing digital infrastructure to building connectivity to rural and remote areas, as well as developing and implementing application systems to allow Sarawak government services to be conveniently accessed by the public at any time and from any location.

Elaborating on this, Dr Smith said the consortium will build radio connectivity in rural areas effectively with fiber nodes and on top of that, road connectivity is not necessarily needed for the implementation.

“There are existing towers out there which we can improve the fiber connectivity. But we need more towers and bring them closer to the people and that is why, this requires investment,” he added.

At the same time, Dr Smith stressed that one of the major challenges faced by PPTel and other telecommunication companies in the world presently is the shortage of skilled telecommunication workforce.

“At PPTel, we are currently building a really good team. We have some international experts coming in to boost and upskill the people.

“But I think we need to work with local universities as well to encourage greater results of (producing) people with the right skills. That is our challenge,” he emphasised.

For the full interview, click here to watch it on Youtube. — DayakDaily