By Submarine Cable News Feed

Philippines President Gloria

Macapagal Arroyo visited La Union on Tuesday to lead the ceremony to inaugurate a new cable landing station for the Philippine leg of the Asia-America Gateway (AAG)

transpacific cable in the municipality of Bauang.

The US$500 million milestone project is the first high-bandwidth optical fiber submarine cable system with

a span of 20,000-kilometer cable network that connects Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darrusalam, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and the

United States.

AAG is a project of an international consortium of global telecom operators, including AiTi (Brunei Darussalam), CAT Telecom (Thailand), PLDT

(Philippines), REACH (Hong Kong), StarHub (Singapore), Telekom Malaysia (Malaysia) and VNPT (Vietnam)

The construction of the submarine cable system enables

the Philippines to become Asia's new hub for regional and transpacific connectivity and at the same time, meeting the expected rapid growth industries that depend

on advanced telecom services and further propels the country's economic development, according to a statement released by the Philippines government.

It is

expected that AAG will enter service in the second quarter of 2009.