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Marconi to Install Fiber Optic SDH Rings for TM

Telecommunications equipment supplier Marconi Malaysia Sdn Bhd has been awarded a three-year US$60.5 million contract to improve the network of Malaysia's largest carrier Telekom Malaysia (TM).

The joint-venture company with 70% local interests and managed by Marconi Communications SpA of Italy, will install fiber-optic synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) rings throughout Malaysia to cater to increasing bandwidth requirements. "The contract is a key part of Telekom's support towards making Malaysia a world center for new cyber lifestyles and business models," said Marconi Malaysia chairman Mohd Ghazali Seth in a statement.

He said that the system will substantially boost network capacity in Malaysia and will allow TM to offer enhanced levels of reliability. "The fiber-optic SDH ring automatically heals itself if traffic around one part of the ring is interrupted," he added. SDH technology is being used in 140 countries and also provides a platform for future migration into more advanced networks and higher bandwidth.

Marconi Communications is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marconi plc (formerly GEC), a worldwide leader for optical networking using SDH technology for public networks, with about one-third market share. It was responsible for recent upgrades to infrastructure in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK -- as well as two of the world's largest networks in Australia and China.

The new contract is the largest offered to Marconi Malaysia since it set up a plant in 1985 to manufacture transmission equipment for local and export markets. The company will install and commission the fiber SDH rings using its synchronous transport modules STM-1, STM-4 and STM-16 multiplexers and cross connects as well as set up a complete network management system in Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sarawak and Sabah. The three types of STM have bandwidth capacity of 155Mbits/s, 622Mbits/s and 2.5Gbits/s respectively.

The upgrade will also encompass the telecommunication network within the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). Telekom Malaysia is responsible for the broadband infrastructure for the MSC. It presently has over 4 million fixed-line subscribers nationwide and is also the main carrier for over 700,000 dial-up Internet users, half of which are subscribers to its subsidiary Internet service provider (ISP) TMnet.

Mohd Ghazali said Marconi invested US$7.9 million in its plant in 1998 and plans to pump in an equal amount in 2000. The plant is enjoying 15 to 20% growth per annum and has the capacity to manufacture 800 units of multiplexers per month.

Apart from Telekom Malaysia, the plant counts among its customers locally fiber-on-railways supplier Fiberail Sdn Bhd and telecom company DiGi Telecommunications Bhd as well as foreign customers in Asia, Central and South Latin America, Europe and Italy.

(Julian Matthews, Kuala Lumpur: Feb. 2000 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)

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