New China Transpacific Cable

Posted by Sam Churchill on


EE Times reports that Verizon Business has signed an agreement with a group of Asian telecommunications firms to build an advanced Trans-Pacific cable. It will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 terabits per second (Tbps), but will have design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps.

The cable system, which will jump off from the United States in Nedonna Beach, Ore., and extend more than 18,000 kilometers (11,000-miles) to China. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2007 with completion slated for the third quarter of 2008. The cable will link several Asian and Pacific locations with the United States.

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The consortium will spend more than $500 million on the Trans-Pacific Express project, according to Verizon Business.

The new cable will be able to support 62 million simultaneous phone calls, which Verizon says is 60 times more than the capacity of the existing cable linking the two nations. Individual customers would be able to transfer data as quickly as a blazing 10 gigabits per second.

Verizon’s partners in the consortium include China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom, and Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan.

In January 2004, India’s Reliance Communications paid US$ 211 million, or 6 cents on the dollar for FLAG (the Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe).

In 2005, India’s Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) acquired the Tyco Global Network (TGN) from Tyco international for $130 million. The $130 million purchase price for TGN translates to roughly 5 cents on the dollar. The chief stockholder in VSNL is India’s Tata Group, also that country’s largest offshore outsourcing company. Tyco’s Transpacific cable has a capacity of some 6.7 Terabits/second.

A group of U.S. senators said the submarine cable network controlled more than 80% of the total trans-Pacific undersea capacity. The Videsh Sanchar deal was approved by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment Inside the United States, a federal security panel.

China has 449 million mobile users, making it the largest cellular market in the world. It is also one of the fastest areas of Internet growth, with data showing around 123 million current Web users.

Ovum predicts China will be the number one broadband market by 2007 with 79 million broadband subscribers next year. Ovum expects some 139 million subscribers by 2010 with a growth rate of 75% annually. Overall penetration is just above 3% in China, so there’s plenty of room to grow.

Verizon Business is the only U.S.-based member among the initial parties of the consortium. Verizon claims existing cable networks between the United States and China and other Asian nations are reaching capacity, making the planned new network a necessity.

Verizon says it is involved in more than 65 submarine cable networks worldwide.

The original China-U.S. Transpacific Cable (map, above), connects China, the United States, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan in a 30,000 km loop. Its northern landing point is Bandon, Oregon and its southern landing point is San Luis Obispo, California. By improving existing WDM (wavelength-division mulitiplexing) technology, the cable network had a total capacity of 80 Gpbs (equivalent to 967,680 telephone lines).

The two trans-oceanic segments give the system a total capacity of 160 Gbit/s, half of which will be reserved for in-system restoration. Linking with the SEA-ME-WE Cable System (South East Asia, Middle East, Western Europe), the original China-US cable system provided some of the best connectivity into and out of Asia to the US.

International spy agencies are mum on the kind of accommodations that will be required (on both sides). Those kind of negotiations aren’t usually reported in the trade press.

The original $1.2-billion China-U.S. Cable Network project, the first direct fiber-optic link between the two countries, followed FLAG, a 28,000-km cable from Japan to Britain. Sea-Me-We3, another billion-dollar cable, connected Europe and Asia via the Indian Ocean in 1999. “The world is in the midst of building a communications infrastructure as revolutionary as the automobile network and the electrical grid,” says Ira Magaziner, former information technology policy adviser to Bill Clinton.

According to Wikipedia, there are dozens of submarine telecommunications cables in the Pacific Ocean (large map). The new China-U.S. cable appears to be among the biggest.

Of course Google would do no evil. They just want to take over the world. A Google Phone could be manufactured by HTC, a firm in Taiwan that specializes in smart phones and PDAs. Maybe they’ll issue everyone on the planet a BlackJack phone with 700MHz WiMax and be done with it. Think small.

TeleGeography has a Global Bandwidth Research Service. Related DailyWireless articles include; Intelligent Nation, New Transpacific Cable, Supercomputer Cells, Googleplex in Oregon, Bangalore Unwired, The Global Grid, and Transnational Media Production.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, December 18th, 2006 at 12:18 pm .