Information superhighway on Belt and Road

Source: Khmer Times

In June 2016, the first pile of the Sihanoukville Cable Landing Station was driven into soil. Photo provided by Cambodia Fiber Optic Communication Network

Li Yongyi has been working in the fiber optic-communications field for more than two decades. Despite being a veteran in this field, he has to work overtime almost every day to address new challenges since he arrived in Cambodia in 2015.


Mr Li is a deputy manager of China’s Cambodia Fiber Optic Communication Network Company. In March 2016, Mr Li’s company obtained a contract to build and operate the Cambodian section of the Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable, the first ever trans-continental cable in Asean.
The 25,000-km-long submarine cable, connecting China’s Hong Kong region with Europe across Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, is expected to be operational in 2017.
The cable is going to open a new era by promoting the broadband market in Cambodia, featuring higher transmission quality and lower prices, Mr Li told Xinhua news agency.
Mr Li said his company has been hiring as many local people as possible since it opened its first office in Cambodia in 2006. Currently, nearly 90 percent of its staff are Cambodians, many of them in management posts.
In the past decade, the Chinese company, with an over 80-percent market share, laid more than 10,000km of land optic cable in Cambodia, covering 25 provinces or cities and providing services to 17 companies and 300,000 households.
At the early stage of the project, Mr Li’s company opened the land station in Cambodia’s seaside city of Sihanoukville. During rainy seasons, the newly-dug foundation was repeatedly flooded, which forced the company to change its plan.
“At last, we decided to resort to piling,” Mr Li said. “However, it was hard to find cement piles strong enough to bear the weight of a submarine cable station in Cambodia,” Mr Li recalled. They finally managed to solve the problem.
Every aspect of the project, including the piling and infrastructure construction, was widely applauded in Cambodia.
Yu Leping, general manger of the Cambodia Fiber Optic Communication Network Company, said the company has set the standard for Cambodia’s fiber optic communication industry in terms of management and project construction.
Thanks to this progress, the Cambodian government passed legislation for the telecommunication industry at the end of 2015, laying a solid legal foundation for its development.
After the submarine cable is completed, Cambodians will enjoy fast, direct and exclusive international bandwidth, Mr Li said, adding that the cable will open a new era for the development of Cambodia’s telecommunication industry and market economy, benefiting both the government and the people.
Cambodia will be more closely linked with other parts of the world through the information superhighway, giving a strong boost to the kingdom’s economic development.


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