Operations Begin

Friends and supporters of BSCC would know that I have been updating this blog regularly. BSCC is committed to transparency. The blog is BSCC’s report to the public on the activities of a publicly owned corporation, charged with providing equitable access to cost-effective, top quality, wholesale-only capacity services.

Since April, the BSCC construction timetable has been pinned to the top of our News section. The targets we set have not shifted, and milestones have been hit without exception. Our second customer connection was completed this week. We are reaching the end of the customer testing phase on schedule, and see the first signs of significant live traffic loads on BSCCnet.

While I probably don’t fit the profile of a typical user, I, like many hundreds of Palauan householders, have a Homenet service. This provides me with a DSL connection to the internet delivered over the copper wire pair that also supports my home fixed line phone.

The copper pair is connected to my Service Provider’s router network. Before BSCCnet came into the picture, routers ultimately delivered the data traffic from my phone line (both voice and internet) to satellite earth stations, where they were beamed up to an orbiting (closer) or geostationary (further, but better in the rain) satellite, and then back to an earth station where the data joins the global IP (Internet Protocol) network.

So long it was not raining, this was a typical speed test at my Malakal conapt on a good day:


The PING, 297 milliseconds, is the round trip time to Davao in the Philippines. It is a big triangle, with a shortish base.

The download speed is just under 1 Megabit per second.

The upload speed is half that at 0.49 Mbit / sec. That reflects the asymmetrical nature of satellite connections, where the service provider pays for traffic at the same rate on the upstream and downstream paths, and so provisions less speed for the uploads, reflecting historical usage patterns of their customers.

After we started to see the traffic load ramp up on BSCCnet, there was evidence that my Homenet service in Malakal was no longer getting its connection to the world from a satellite:


The PING has dropped to 125 milliseconds for the exact same round trip to Davao. The data is no longer travelling tens of thousands of kilometres up and down in a big triangle, it is travelling in a series of relatively straight lines along the ocean floor, from BSCC’s CAP-N in Ngeremlengui to CAP-G in Guam, and then most likely back along the SEA-US submarine cable to Davao.

The download speed is about the same as before, but the upload has increased to match the download, at about one Mbit / sec.

The drop in PING (ie latency) is significant if I would like to watch, for example, a youtube video or, more likely, an Australian Rules football match. I won’t have to cache to avoid constant interruptions to the feed.

The connection will no longer drop out because of rain fade.

I can send out big files much faster, with commensurate increased certainty of successful transmission.

In Airai, there was a similar Homenet PING this morning:


Note the very fast round trip to Guam – only 47 thousandths of a second! Note the evidence that checking out BSCC’s progress is a family affair! Thanks, Micah!

That sort of latency indicates a pretty satisfactory home internet service can be delivered, as DSL product sets are tuned up for broadband and jitter is eliminated from the network.

Already, then, I can see improvements, and clear signs that progress will continue for fixed line broadband connections.

The higher speed and super low latency now possible is demonstrated in this mobile speed test from Airai using a 4G connection yesterday. This is world class mobile broadband right here in Palau, right now:


In Ngaraard later in the afternoon, the results are not as spectacular, but still impressive:


This one is 3G mobile, with another great latency result evident in the PING and very handy 3 Mbit / sec download speed.

We can’t expect to see the best that the Palau Service Provider networks can deliver for a while yet, as all the product design issues that arise from the higher speed potential are identified and resolved. No doubt there will be teething problems.

BSCC is doing everything it can to make sure that the benefits of this fantastic project continue to grow. We all want a fast card transaction, every time, at the store. We want interesting live-streamed content. Faster, more reliable communications with friends, family, colleagues and customers. Access to cloud based applications. Top medical specialists from the leading institutions connected to our hospital through high definition audio-visual links. Streamlined processes in the business, administration and social spheres.

We are taking the first step on a journey here!

Oh, and we still have plenty of t-shirts, just send me an email if you would like one. robin@belaucable.com For more details see https://belaucable.com/news/2017/11/20/bscc-launch-t-shirts