The final length of the GMS Information Superhighway (GMS-IS) – a USD17.6 million fibre-optic telecoms network linking Cambodia with China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand – has begun operation, the Phnom Penh Post reports. Work on the latest line, which has a network capacity of 2.5Gbps, was commenced at the end of 2007 by Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies. Officials say the new 651km transmission line to Laos will increase Cambodia’s communication speeds by linking the country to a regional backbone. Cambodia’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun said that the network will ‘improve living conditions for people in the Greater Mekong Subregion countries, as the entire network is now in place,’ adding that it will increase national income by promoting development of ICT, exchanging new technology and information, and transmit voice, video, data and internet traffic to the world at lower prices. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the GMS-IS is funded by a soft loan from China Eximbank and is controlled by fixed line incumbent Telecom Cambodia and Enterprise Telecom Laos. The original MoU establishing the GMS-IS project was signed by the six participating nations in December 2004. The latest links will also enable Telecom Cambodia to begin providing services to the provinces surrounding the Tonle Sap lake.