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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    29 May 2012

Brunei plans to be Asean’s communications hub

29 May 2012

With plans to deploy a Japan-made cable that is expected to enhance Internet connectivity in Brunei and its surrounding areas under way, the Brunei International Gateway Sdn Bhd (BIG) is eyeing to make Brunei a regional communication hub by providing premium solutions to neighbouring countries.

Brunei is connected to at least nine countries directly in the BIMP-EAGA and the South East Asian region which will be able to benefit from BIG's hosting of NTT's Global IP Gateway routers, said Siew Yoong Hing, the Deputy General Manager of BIG.

"What we essentially want to do with our collaboration with NTT Com is to bring an IP transit product that is a premium solution inside Brunei. Its the first in Brunei, and the first in a sense for many countries," he said during the contract signing ceremony between BIG and NTT Com on May 19.

BIG and NTT Com entered into a business collaboration agreement to deploy the first global Tier-1 IP Gateway in Brunei, which promises to enhance Internet access environment in the country and the surrounding areas.

During the ceremony, Hing said that BIG's responsibilities is on the cable landing system, which is the upstream component of a communication infrastructure. At the same time, BIG will serve the downstream markets; the ISPs in Brunei, the BIMP-EAGA region and Southeast Asia.

"BIG is bandwidth rich with gigabits of capacity, and we will certainly keep on improving the picture. We can keep on adding more cable systems to make it a very resilient network," he said.

"And in order to do that, we will need NTT Com to come along and put in more resilient components so that we can have a superior network, and hence, a superior product which we can cater to our neighbouring countries in which we are connected to."

NTT Com is Asia's number one Tier 1 Transit provider which could guarantee the delivery of IP traffic to and from practically every Internet location in the world, he pointed out.

"Once we have a resilient network and premium product, the ISP in Sabah, Sarawak, Kalimantan, Mindanao and Sulawesi, among others will come to Brunei. We will have a good solution for them."

He also said that big purchasers of NTT solutions such as Thailand and Vietnam, now directly connected to Brunei, can also benefit from BIG's new solution.

At present, local ISPs connect separately to global ISPs outside Brunei, going all the way to Hong Kong, Singapore and USA to secure IP Transit from Tier 1 and Tier 2 IP Transit providers located there.

"It is a single and unprotected link. If that cable fails, Internet service is severely affected, and the Tier 1 IP transit provider cannot do anything whenever there is a cable failure," he said.

He said that by bringing NTT's international IP gateway (IIG) to Brunei through BIG's cable station, local ISPs will be able to benefit from a more stable IP Transit service in Brunei that is protected by multiple cable systems, and be less prone to disruption in submarine cable faults.

"So if one cable fails, NTT will make sure all the bandwidth streams over to the second link seamlessly. Essentially BIG is empowering NTT, a Tier 1 transit provider, to give a service-level agreement (SLA) inside Brunei," he said.

Established in 2009, BIG is a local joint venture company between the Brunei Government and private telecommunication firms.

It is incorporated as an investment holding and trading company to carry out investments in international telecommunication infrastructure such as the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable project, and as an international communication player and to become the country's future landing station.

As a licenced carrier in Brunei, BIG owns equipment as well as the AAG and the South East Asia Japan (SJC) cable capacity and also maintains marketing, support, operations and sales resources in Brunei. The AAG directly links the region to the US through a 20,000-km fibre optic cable network that will connect 10 different locations in eight countries across the Asia Pacific.

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