ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The 7,800km Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE) connects Japan, Malaysia,
Singapore and the Philippines.
It transfers data via an optical fibre system at 40 gigabits per second, and
is three milliseconds faster than any other cable between Singapore and
The gain in speed may sound small, but could prove critical to financial
trades made out of the region.
So-called "high frequency trades", controlled by computers, involve making
what may be hundreds of thousands of transactions in less than a second - all
determined by a program that tracks market conditions.
With banks and hedge funds competing against each other, the size of the
profit or loss can come down to a matter of beating the competition by a
fraction of a second, explained Ralph Silva, a strategist at Silva Research
"High frequency trading is basically computer trading - you program a set of
rules and as events happen - the computer decides buy or sell commands," he
"As all incoming data is received by all banks at the same time, and because
the computers are all the same with the same speed of processors, the length of
time the command takes to get to the exchange makes a big difference.
"So if all banks come to the same trading decision at the same time, the one
to get the transaction to the master computer first wins.
"Three milliseconds in computer time is an hour in human time."
According to BBC, the route for the new cable was chosen to be as straight as possible,
reducing the time to get information from one end to the other to 65
The data transfer capacity of 40Gbps is the equivalent of downloading a
high-resolution DVD in about two seconds.Avoiding
The new facility adds to a web of undersea cables in the waters around
These include ones run by Australian operator Telstra International; Taiwan's
largest phone operator Chunghwa Telecom; and the global telecommunications
service provider Pacnet, based in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Many were damaged by a powerful earthquake near Japan's northeast coast in
An earlier earthquake in December 2006, off the south-west coast of Taiwan,
also broke several cables, disrupting telecommunications in Asian countries.
The problems helped influence where the new cable was laid, said Japan's
biggest telecommunications provider.
"We avoided the area around Taiwan, where earthquakes are common, and laid
the route near the Philippines instead, making the cable very safe and
reliable," said Hiroyuki Matsumoto, senior director of network services at NTT,
one of the four partners involved in the project.
After 2011's earthquake and tsunami his firm reported that half a million
telephone circuits and about 150,000 internet circuits went down in Japan
because of subsea cable damage.
To repair the cable network, telecoms operators had to send out ships
equipped with remotely controlled robots, able to dive to a depth of 2,500m
The other companies involved in the project are PLDT, the Philippines' main
telecom company; StarHub, the second-largest mobile phone operator in Singapore;
and Telekom Malaysia.
PLDT said that the venture was the first direct cable connection between the
Philippines and Japan, and "the largest-capacity international submarine cable
system ever to land in the Philippines".