Deal inked for Brunei-Labuan cable

John Murray (R), CEO of BIG, and Mahadi Harris-Murshidi, CEO of CTTSB, following the signing ceremony for the Labuan-Brunei Cable Landing Party agreement at the Orchid Garden Hotel. BT/Leo Kasim


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - BRUNEI International Gateway (BIG) Sdn Bhd yesterday signed an agreement with Malaysian telecommunications company Common Tower Technology Sdn Bhd (CTTSB) to land a new submarine cable between Brunei and Labuan, giving BIG more traffic activity and increased capability to sell to international customers.

The signing of the Labuan-Brunei Cable Landing Party agreement would see the 52-kilometre Labuan-Brunei Cable (LBC) system run from Kiamsam to Tungku. According to a joint press release, the LBC, which involves the construction of a new cable system across the Brunei bay off the South China Sea, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016.

The primary aim of the LBC is to gain access to international gateways and capacity via AAG (Asia-America Gateway), SJC (South East Asia Japan Cable system) and the SMW3 (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3) with an option for further upgrades in the future, the statement said.

The LBC is the fourth international fibre optic submarine cable to land in Brunei with the others being AAG, SJC and the SMW3.

In an interview, John Murray, CEO of BIG, said that decision for CTTSB to land in Tungku would provide more overseas routes for Brunei and its neighbours while contributing to goals to establish the sultanate as a communications hub.

“It gives BIG the opportunity to sell telecom capacity on our cables to international customers which helps with our business as we have a lot of capacity leaving Brunei at the moment,” he told The Brunei Times following the signing event at the Orchid Garden Hotel.

“The landing allows telcos in Brunei to have a second route to the Sabah and Sarawak market. Brunei has an existing fibre optic land cable called the Trans-Borneo which crosses Brunei from Sarawak.”

As for CTTSB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sabah state investment arm Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd, Murray said that they are able to provide alternative and international routes out of Borneo via BIG. “Mobile phone operators in Sabah will soon have another route out through Brunei,” he added.

Murray said that the LBC also contributes to BIG’s objective of turning Brunei into a communications hub for Borneo.

“It is about getting as much telecom traffic as you can and by having more cables, it makes it more attractive for foreign companies to invest in the country because of increased access.

“Brunei is a good location to invest in and the more cables we can bring in, the more attractive it is for investors,” he said.

Meanwhile in his speech, Mahadi Harris-Murshidi, CEO of CTTSB, said that LBC will positively impact the economies of Brunei, Sabah and Malaysia in general.

Mahadi said that CTTSB has made progress in building an international gateway with strategic presence in key economies capture industry demand.

“The LBC will allow CTTSB to expand its network to other parts within the region including strong bases in the key growth markets of Brunei and Malaysia.”

BIG is a joint venture company between the government investment vehicle namely Brooketon Sendirian Berhad and telecommunication providers Telekom Brunei Berhad and DST International (B) Sdn Bhd.

The government-linked company was incorporated in August 2009 to take the role in investment and membership in the AAG which is a cable system that runs over 20,000km connecting Southeast Asia with the United States.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times