Tungku station a game changer in ICT development

Azlan Othman

A new interconnection platform at the Tungku Submarine Cable Station Brunei Darussalam is set to offer domestic and regional customers the shortest route and access to Internet hubs in Asia, Europe, and America; and enables global networks to get closer to users in the Southeast Asian region.

The Borneo-IX, borne out of a strategic partnership between Unified National Networks (UNN), the national network operator of Brunei Darussalam; and DE-CIX, the world’s leading Internet Exchange operator, is set to serve the Southeast Asian region, in extension to other DE-CIX metro markets in Malaysia and Singapore, acting as a further new gateway between the United States (US) and Southeast Asia.

This was announced during its launch at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club yesterday.

The event was officiated by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, who is also the Chairman of UNN; Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, and UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler.

Also present at the event were Permanent Secretary (Investment) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid who is also Darussalam Assets Chief Executive Officer and UNN Deputy Chairman; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Infocommunications, Cybersecurity, Strategy and Corporate) at the MTIC Haji Hairul Mohd Daud bin Haji Abdul Karim; and UNN senior management team.

Dr Oehler commented, “UNN, as the national telecommunications network operator in Brunei, is part of the global telecommunications industry in our highly interconnected world.

“We have a special responsibility to strive for state-of-the-art telecommunication and ICT services delivered by modern infrastructure. In doing do, we are factually competing with leading operators in the region and worldwide. Digital services demanded by businesses and organisations today are all offered in a global market, and therefore we need to be attractive when compared with the best international providers.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah and Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof officiate the launch. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler speaks at the event

“Cooperating with the leading provider DE-CIX enables us to offer connectivity capabilities similar to Singapore, Frankfurt and London. We believe this is a key milestone for the telecommunications industry in Brunei. We are proud that we have been able to implement this in a short time and be ready for service in the year of Brunei’s presidency in the ASEAN community.”

Meanwhile, DE-CIX CEO International Ivo Ivanov said, “With more than 600 million inhabitants in Southeast Asia, there is massive digital demand that needs to be served. Eighty per cent of the international content providers are doing business in the region, and are in need of robust and flexible interconnection services.

“While Singapore has been a major content hub for the region for the last decade, the DE-CIX Asia interconnection ecosystem brings low-latency and high-speed connectivity to underserved areas of the region, enabling the exchange of traffic locally, but also direct interconnection with networks at other DE-CIX IXs in the region.

“With this partnership, we take another step towards better localisation of interconnection services across the Southeast Asian region on the strategically important island of Borneo.”

Borneo is well-positioned in the centre of Southeast Asia, and Brunei boasts landing stations for several international submarine cables, as well as being connected terrestrially with Malaysia and Indonesia.

In a globalised world, economic relations and transactions are highly reliant on robust and adequate telecommunications services and applications. UNN – being able to offer these services from Brunei in the region and for the region with features and quality parameters equally to key locations in Asia, Europe and US – will create new opportunities for Bruneian businesses to collaborate and expand internationally, while attracting international organisations to consider Brunei for business and investments.

Borneo-IX, combined with the modernised, performant fixed and mobile national networks of UNN, is a major building block for developing Brunei’s telecommunications industry and ambitions as a competitive ICT hub for the region. This will support the key goals of the Brunei Government in implementing the Digitalisation Plans required to achieve the Brunei Vision 2035 objectives, as part of the National ICT Development Plan.

The new interconnection hub will be operated by DE-CIX on behalf of UNN, as part of the DE- CIX-as-a-Service (DaaS) programme, which includes a set of services – such as installation, maintenance, provisioning, marketing, and sales support – designed for data centre operators or other third parties to create their own Internet Exchange and interconnection platform fully operated by DE-CIX in Dubai, the recently launched SEECIX powered by DE-CIX in Athens, Greece, and the German Ruhr-CIX.

DE-CIX delivers the technical set-up needed for an Internet Exchange as a fully pre-configured and standardised ‘DE-CIX in a box’ solution – easy to plug and play.

With a single access at Borneo-IX, customers will be able to enjoy a comprehensive set of interconnection services. This includes peering locally with other Southeast Asian networks, OTTs and enterprises, gaining access to a vibrant Southeast Asian interconnection ecosystem, and connecting to other DE-CIX locations in due course.

Within the DE-CIX Asia interconnection ecosystem, all DE-CIX IXs in Southeast Asia are interconnected. Customers at any of the exchanges are able to access networks at any of the other IXS in the region, offering a seamless connection, top-quality interconnection services, and the most cost-effective way to peer across Southeast Asia.

DE-CIX’s global neutral interconnection ecosystem extends all the way from the DE-CIX IXs in North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, and so on to Southeast Asia, connecting more than 2,100 networks overall.