Guam Has Growing Role In Telecommunications

Guam plays an extremely important role with 11 submarine cables landing on the island connecting the U.S. to the Asia-Pacific region.By Steve Limtiaco
June 8, 2021

Guam’s telecommunications companies provide important services that allow other businesses on island to operate, said Roderick Boss, president and CEO of Docomo Pacific.

“All the growth opportunities on this island will be enabled by a vibrant telecommunications infrastructure and competitors here. … Our services are very comparable to what you would find anywhere around the country,” Boss said.

Guam now plays a larger, and growing role, in global telecommunications infrastructure, according to GTA President and CEO Roland Certeza, who said the submarine fiberoptic cables that land on Guam benefit island residents and the local economy.

There is a growing global demand for data, and greater interest in using Guam as a cable landing station and as a telecommunications hub, Certeza said.

Facebook in March announced plans to build two new submarine cables, “Echo” and “Bifrost,” which will connect Singapore and Indonesia to North America. Both cables will land on Guam, Facebook stated in a release.

“In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, the demand for 4G, 5G, and broadband access is rapidly increasing,” Facebook stated. “Echo and Bifrost will support further growth for hundreds of millions of people and millions of businesses. We know that economies flourish when there is widely accessible internet for people and businesses.”

Guam's important

The 11 submarine cables that currently land on Guam, connecting the U.S. to the Asia-Pacific region, are some of the more than 400 cables that are the backbone of global telecommunications, providing nearly all of the world’s internet and phone service.

“Part of the technology is they’ve got to land somewhere, particularly from Southeast Asia, because the cable length is long, and power is a big component of cables because they’ve got to regenerate the fiber signal. So Guam’s important,” Certeza said. Connecting the Asia-Pacific region to the U.S. is important, Certeza said, since the world’s major internet application and content providers operate in the U.S.

“The forecast that we saw is data growth in Asia-Pacific is something like 30% annually, for the next 10 years,” Certeza said. “It’s mind-blowing to think about that kind of growth.”

GTA, which operates cable landing stations and a data center in Piti, has asked the government of Guam to give it a lease for submerged land so it can land more cables, in Tamuning.

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