Minister of Post and Telecommunications Chea Vandeth announced that the government plans to complete a submarine fiber-optic cable connection from Hong Kong to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh in 2024. The cable will replace one that was connected more than a decade ago, and is expected to make Cambodia’s internet services faster and cheaper.
He added that the internet in Cambodia today is dependent on infrastructure that was connected 15 years ago, while the number of users has increased dramatically.
He made the announcement last week during the signing of a memorandum between the telecoms ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries on the integration of the latter into document verification platform verify.gov.kh
“The funding for the submarine cable comes from a loan from the Chinese government. In 10 years, the sale of internet services will repay the entirety of the loan. The project is to be implemented for 30 years, so in addition to repaying the loan, we will make a profit,” he explained.
“We currently have limited capacity, as the infrastructure was connected 15 years ago. When the new cable is in operation, our internet speeds will be like driving on an information expressway. The capacity will be more than enough to meet the Kingdom’s needs,” he said.
In addition to connecting the submarine cable, he added that the telecommunications ministry is working to install up to 1,000 internet expansion antenna masts in several of Phnom Penh’s districts. It will also dismantle internet booster and repeater devices, which the ministry considers disruptive to internet speed.
“In the Phnom Penh area alone, the ministry is preparing to build about 1,000 antenna masts. The ministry has succeeded in Borey Peng Huoth, which is home to about 8,000 families. It took almost a year to complete. Now, more than 60 Boreys in the capital are building antenna masts,” he said.
According to the minister, the ministry is currently installing antenna towers in four districts in Phnom Penh. Once they are completed – in three or four months – it will move on to another four districts.
The minister noted that the demand for internet services increased dramatically following the Covod-19 pandemic, but did not specify the precise figures.
According to previous released figures, as of February, Cambodia had more than 17 million registered SIM cards and more than 310,000 fixed internet users. The Kingdom has 38 internet service providers, 5 onshore and submarine fiber optic infrastructure operators. There are 640km of submarine fiber optic cable in Cambodian waters.