Communication (Phone-Internet-etc)Lao Economy

Nationwide Fibre Optic Network Set For Completion

A nationwide project to install an underground fibre optic network is set for completion late this month, and will significantly advance telecommunications infrastructure in Laos.

Officials in charge are now finalising the Lao National Transmission Backbone Network project, it was reported yesterday by the Head of the project’s Installation and Repair Division, Mr Khanxay Sibounheuang.

The state-funded project, developed by the Ministry of National Defence, is set to provide advanced services within the telecommunications sector in Laos.

It is also expected to generate considerable revenue for the state budget by providing services to businesses, which are large consumers of telecommunications services.

“Some companies have expressed their interest in using the network,” Mr Khanxay said.

The underground fibre optic network, the first ever in Laos, has better guarantees in providing stable services unlike above ground fibre optic networks which risk being damaged by storms or other unforeseen events.

Mr Khanxay said many countries have been using underground networks even though the investment cost for installation is much higher compared to above ground wires suspended from electrical transmission lines, offering a much greater service guarantee.

Work to carry out the project’s first phase to install the underground network stretching from Laos’ southernmost to northernmost regions began in 2009, with cable also to be installed from certain points of the easternmost to westernmost regions. The first phase was completed in 2010.

In late 2012, the project began its second phase to spread the network to provinces across the country, which means that all provincial capitals will be connected, except for the newly-established Xaysomboun province.

With the former Xaysomboun special zone having just received approval from the National Assembly in December to have its status upgraded to that of a province, it has yet to be connected into the backbone, Mr Khanxay reported.

Many ministries, eight provinces and Vientiane have already been using the project’s transmission line, he stated.

The remaining provinces, except Saysomboun, are expected to be able to use the network after the completion slated for the end of this month.

Mr Khanxay said all of the roads that were dug up for fibre installation have been repaired in accordance with acceptable standards.

In Vientiane, for example, the project works in collaboration with the Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department in repairing the roads. National and main roads get priority and repairs must be completed within 24 hours.

However, delays were experienced in some cases when officials in charge of repairing the roads realised that it was not absolutely necessary to take immediate action to repair every part of minor roads or small lanes.

Source: Vientiane Times