Underwater optical fibre data cable opens in Asia

A 7,800km underwater optical fibre data cable, called the Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), which links Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia, has opened for traffic. It is the first direct cable link between the Philippines and Japan, according to one of the developers.

ASE can manage data transfer as fast as 40 gigabits per second. It joins existing undersea cables around Japan, including those operated by Telstra International, Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom, and Pacnet which links Singapore and Hong Kong, although these were damaged by an earthquake off Japan’s coast in March last year, the BBC reports.

It is hoped that the new cables will bolster speeds between the countries particularly for high frequency trades.

These are used by financial institutions to make trades where speed is imperative, sometimes up tp hundreds of thousands of transaction in under a second, based on algorithms that oversee market conditions nad make a call on the appropriate buy or sell actions.

ASE’s route is as straight as can be to reduce data transfer times.

Because of the natural disaster threat, ASE avoids the area around Taiwan where earthquakes are common. Instead the route is as near to the Philippines as possible, which a senior director at NTT – one of four project partners – claimed makes it significantly safer and more reliable.

The other companies are the Philippines’ PLDT, Singapore’s StarHub, and Telekom Malaysia.