The state-owned telecoms firms in China and Thailand have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on building a high-speed broadband link between China and Southeast Asia, Thai newspapers reported last week.
Thailand's CAT Telecom and China Telecom Global, the international arm of China Telecom, plan to establish a submarine cable network that would strengthen inter-regional broadband connections.
Uttama Savanayana, the Thai minister of information and communications technology, said that China Telecom is one of many Chinese companies that have shown interest in collaborating on inter-regional broadband infrastructure, the Bangkok Post reported.
According to The Nation, CAT and China Telecom will form a joint venture very soon and will start work on the land part of the cable this year. Both parties will seek partners and strategic alliances for the project, Savanayana said.
CAT is expected to invest about Bt3bn ($85m) in the project.
Under the plans, the inter-regional internet system will link Asean nations with mainland China. It will originate in Hong Kong and will pass through Thailand, Laos and the other counties in the CLMV subregion (Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam) and then turn back to China.
The Nation noted that more than 90% of Thailand's internet streaming overseas currently has to go down to Singapore and Malaysia before reaching destinations in China. The new high-speed broadband link will cut the distance, and that will reduce costs.
The submarine cable planned for the second phase of the project will facilitate maritime communication in eastern China and Southeast Asia, the Thai minister said.