Fiber-Optics Firm Launched

A Cambodian-Korean joint venture, chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son-in-law, opened its doors Thursday and said it is pre­paring to bid for a $31 million South Korean-funded fiber optic project, a company adviser said Thursday.

Hun Sen’s son-in-law Moeung Kompak, owner of petroleum giant Tela Cambodia Co, is chairman of the new Cambodia-Korea Technology Co Ltd, which hopes to build a fiber-op­tics network be­tween Poipet and the Vietnamese border in Takeo province, said CKT adviser Nong Kuntheavy.

CKT is allowed to bid be­cause a South Korean consortium owns 42 percent of the company, he said. “Only South Ko­rean-owned companies are al­lowed to bid on South Korean loan projects,” he said. South Korea signed an agreement with Cam­bo­dia last year to develop te­lecommuni­cations systems to boost the economy, he said, add­ing that the current project was delayed be­cause of the past political deadlock.

Bidding should start in the next five to six months, Nong Kun­theavy said. He declined to reveal CKT’s investment capital, but emphasized its intention to ease the pressure on jammed phone lines in Cambodia.

CKT will specialize in various aspects of information technology, including phone line maintenance, wireless technology sales and commercial management, said Song Suk Young, CEO of Korean Consortium, the South Korean shareholder of CKT, at the opening of the company’s Phnom Penh office on Thursday.

The new fiber-optics line is part of the government’s strategy to improve technology and make the country more competitive for international investment, said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An at the ceremony. The Ministry of Post and Tele­communications has requested $9 million from Ja­pan to install fiber optic cable be­tween Phnom Penh and Siha­noukville. Fiber optic links be­tween Poipet and the Svay Rieng provincial border with Viet­nam were installed several years ago.

“In this era, we rely totally on the integration of technology in society, but information technology is not as developed in Cambo­dia as in other countries,” Sok An said Thursday. Without further investment, Cambodia will re­main isolated, he said.

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