PLDT hints at delays in completing AAG cable project

14 May 2009

Local news journal BusinessMirror reports that the completion of the USD550 million Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable project, which is being undertaken by a consortium that includes Filipino incumbent Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), may be delayed. The telco, which is contributing USD50 million to the overall cost of the scheme, has submitted a filing to the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), saying that while the majority of the marine and land cable installations have been completed, there are delays in other infrastructure segments such as in Hong Kong. ‘Delay in the Hong Kong deep burial operations was due to severe weather condition. Nonetheless, the 37km [Hong Kong shore end in segment 2 [HK-Philippines] was completed and work is being done to complete the 61km shore end in segment 1 [HK-Branching unit], PLDT said in its filing. The operator confirmed that remedial works are underway to resolve the faults but that the setback means ‘a partial commissioning of the system and the estimated new ready for provisional acceptance date for the whole network is estimated in August 2009.’ The AAG cable project is a 20,000-km long fibre-optic cable network that will connect Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, and the US West Coast. It was originally expected to carry commercial traffic by Q4 2008.