Cable linking US with Asia Pacific nears completion

Has design capacity of up to 5.12 terabits per second

Verizon Business has won approval to operate the Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) submarine cable system linking the United States with the Asia Pacific region.

An application for the license was filed last year with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US.

The TPE is the first next-generation undersea optical cable system directly linking the US and mainland China.

The 17,000-kilometre submarine communications cable will use the latest optical technology and provide greater capacity and higher speeds to meet the dramatic increase in demand for IP, data and voice communications traffic between the US and the Asia-Pacific region.

To be built by a consortium including Verizon Business, China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), the TPE can support the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous phone calls, more than 60 times the overall capacity of the existing cable directly linking the US and China.

The cable will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 terabits per second (Tbps), and the system will have a design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps to support future Internet growth and advanced applications such as video and e-commerce.

Customers can access the cable system at wavelengths of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), the equivalent of nearly 121,000 simultaneous calls.

Verizon Business president, John Killian, said this system coupled with other undersea and terrestrial cables will provide multinational customers doing business in the Asia Pacific with data services that operate at faster speeds, with even more reliability and route diversity.

During the FCC license application approval process, temporary authority was provided to begin construction. to undertake construction which was completed in November, 2007.

Killian said work to complete the cable is well underway and numerous cable laying ships are in the Pacific Ocean today with the project on schedule to be in service by August, in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Verizon Business already owns and operates one of the largest global IP networks, spanning 150 countries across six continents with more than 485,000 route miles.

The company is involved in more than 65 submarine cable networks carrying mission-critical traffic for multi-national customers worldwide. Verizon Business also has deployed an advanced technology known as "meshing." For both its trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes, Verizon Business has interconnected, or meshed its cables, resulting in more diverse routes and restoration to alternative paths in milliseconds.

When completed, the TPE cable will complement the company's existing submarine cables in the Asia-Pacific region. Verizon Business has ownership in more than 18 cable systems in the Asia-Pacific region including: Japan-U.S., China-U.S., Southern Cross (U.S., New Zealand and Australia) and the new SEA-ME-WE-4 cable, put into service in December 2005, linking Europe and Asia.

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Sandra Rossi

Computerworld
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