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New Undersea Cable Routes Underpin Vietnam’s Digital Ambitions

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Vietnam has unveiled an ambitious plan to significantly enhance its digital infrastructure by constructing at least 10 new undersea cable routes by 2030, increasing the total to 15 routes with a minimum capacity of 350 Tbps. This strategic development, issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications, aims to elevate the nation’s position as a regional digital hub.

Under the new development strategy for Vietnam’s international fibre optic cable system, at least two of these new cables will be owned by Vietnam and will connect directly to regional digital hubs. By 2027, the country plans to launch four new routes, boosting the total capacity to at least 134 Tbps. Vietnam will ensure that Singapore, Hong Kong (China), and Japan remain primary digital hubs for connections.

Between 2028 and 2030, six additional routes will be added. This phase aims to maintain up to 90% of the undersea cable capacity linked to four major digital hubs in Asia, with a 10% capacity reserved for backup connections to significant digital hubs in the Americas and Europe.

The international fibre optic cable system is a crucial part of Vietnam’s digital infrastructure, requiring substantial investments to ensure ultra-high capacity, wide bandwidth, safety, and sustainability. This infrastructure will provide the necessary foundation for several urban centres to become regional data hubs.

The country is also expanding 5G technology with a nationwide rollout expected this year and aims to introduce 6G by 2028 or 2030. These efforts, including establishing multi-purpose data centres, highlight Vietnam’s commitment to becoming a leading digital economy and fostering national and global economic growth.

The MIC plans to provide fibre-optic services to all 27 million households by 2025. Currently, 5.4 million households lack fibre-optic services, and 2,052 hamlets with electricity have no broadband internet. The goal is to connect 2.7 million households each year in 2024 and 2025.

Vietnam is also accelerating its digital transformation with key initiatives to enhance internet connectivity and foster a robust digital economy. The country aims to promote the ‘.vn’ domain and ensure fibre-optic access for all households by the end of 2025.

With over 610,000 ‘.vn’ domain registrations, Vietnam ranks second in ASEAN, yet only 25% of businesses use it, compared to 70% in developed countries. The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) offers two years of free ‘.vn’ domain registration to boost usage.

Vietnam’s digital landscape is marked by high online engagement, with nearly 80% of the population online and a robust mobile phone user base. The country has 64,000 digital tech enterprises, including 1,500 with international revenue. However, its IT infrastructure lags behind the demands of emerging technologies like IoT, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles.

To address these gaps, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh issued a directive for a comprehensive plan to develop information and communications infrastructure over the next decade. This strategy aims to modernise infrastructure, bridge digital and physical development gaps, and boost socio-economic growth.

The Prime Minister emphasised the critical role of Project 06 in advancing Vietnam’s digital transformation through resident data development and electronic identification systems. This initiative has improved administrative procedures, data connectivity, and public service accessibility while popularising the VNeID e-identification app, leading to significant savings.

He called for further regulatory reforms to enhance data sharing and administrative efficiency. By strengthening regulatory frameworks and fostering inter-ministry collaboration, Vietnam aims to drive economic growth, safeguard national interests, and maintain market stability in its digital transformation journey.

Looking towards 2035, Vietnam envisions being the leader in the region in terms of quantity, capacity, and quality of connectivity. This development is expected to attract major cloud service providers and facilitate the establishment of large data centres, cementing Vietnam’s status as a key player in the digital economy.


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