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The Case for Carrier-grade Connectivity in Cambodia

Kurian Manjakkal Share:
On dirt road on the capital’s outskirts lined with electricity poles. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia’s economy has achieved a 7.7 percent growth rate annually over the past two decades, the sixth fastest growing country in the world over that period. This growth has been driven by small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent almost 99 percent of the nation’s businesses. To continue this trend, Cambodian businesses require access to the fast and reliable broadband that can support transformational services. This includes access to advanced e-commerce platforms, cloud applications and more robust communications infrastructure.   
Internet service providers (ISPs) have typically deployed aerial fiber to meet broadband demand, which can be seen hanging above streets, or wireless solutions in unlicensed frequency bands. However, both of these legacy technologies have significant drawbacks in delivering the quality of service that is needed to drive economic growth. 
Aerial fiber, despite delivering the desired capacity, suffers from low reliability; both adverse weather conditions and human interference can mean connections are cut, resulting in lengthy periods of downtime. Unlicensed wireless holds similar limitations. As unlicensed spectrum is unregulated and congested, it no longer provides fast or reliable connectivity. Business-critical activities can be dramatically hindered by these limitations. 
While buried fiber or licensed point-to-point (PTP) wireless can improve quality of service, both are time-consuming and very costly to deploy, meaning ISPs often struggle to make a business case for investment. This has hindered development of high capacity broadband in Cambodia, with fixed broadband penetration remaining extremely low. However, forward-thinking ISPs are turning to the next generation of wireless infrastructure that has the potential to revolutionise the broadband landscape. 
One of the latest wireless technologies to gather momentum in Cambodia is licensed point-to-multipoint (PMP). Licensed PMP offers ISPs the same low cost and quick time to market as unlicensed solutions, whilst providing the faster speeds and carrier-grade services of licensed spectrum. By utilizing the available 10.5, 26 and 28GHz frequency bands in Cambodia, licensed PMP enables ISPs to create a competitive advantage by quickly rolling out the fast and reliable connectivity businesses demand. 
Licensed PMP can save up to 50 percent total cost of ownership compared to PTP because multiple businesses can be served from a single ‘hub’ radio, therefore reducing the amount of equipment and installation time needed for each customer. As a result, licensed PMP is providing a highly attractive business case for ISPs to quickly roll out carrier-grade broadband. This not only has the potential to dramatically increase the provision of high-speed broadband in Cambodia (each link can deliver up to 600Mb/s), but can help ISPs become more competitive and quickly increase their subscriber base and revenues.   
Licensed PMP highlights the potential of driving greater efficiency and adopting innovation in network infrastructure design. We’ve seen through our own work in deploying licensed PMP networks across 45 countries – it can unlock wide-ranging socioeconomic benefits. 
In order for Cambodian businesses to fully realize the potential of the digital revolution, ISPs must look to next generation wireless technologies to deliver the cost-effective, reliable capacity the region’s enterprises require. Through tried and tested solutions such as licensed PMP, Cambodia’s ISPs can unlock the benefits of carrier-grade connectivity and drive the nation’s economic growth.   
Mr. Manjakkal is vice present for Asia Pacific Sales at Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd, a Cambridge, UK-based firm that provides licensed PMP.  

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