Verizon Business has signed a construction and maintenance agreement with a consortium that includes China Telecom and China Netcom to build the first next-generation undersea optical cable system directly linking the U.S. mainland and China.
The new system, to be named Trans-Pacific Express (TPE), will use the latest optical technology to provide greater capacity and higher speeds to meet the dramatic increase in demand for IP, data and voice communications with the Asia-Pacific region.
The new fiber-optic cable can support the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous phone calls, more than 60 times the overall capacity of the existing cable directly linking the United States and China.
While TPE will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 terabits per second (Tbps), the system will have design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps to support future Internet growth and advanced applications such as video and e-commerce. In another first, individual customers can access the cable system at wavelengths of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), the equivalent of nearly 121,000 simultaneous phone calls.
Verizon Business is the only U.S.-based member among the initial parties of the consortium, which consists of – in addition to China Telecom and China Netcom – China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom. The TPE cable also provides more diversity from other undersea routes and more efficient connections to a number of countries in Asia where Verizon Business has large business customers.
"This state-of-the-art cable will support high-speed traffic to the world's fastest-growing region – the Asia-Pacific," said Fred Briggs, Verizon Business executive vice president of operations and technology. "Our leadership in this project builds on our important existing relationships in China, further recognizes the emergence of China as a diverse communications hub for Asia, and reflects our company's commitment to help U.S. and other global companies compete worldwide."
Construction of the new cable system, which will extend more than 18,000 kilometers, will begin in the first quarter of 2007. Completion is scheduled in the third quarter of 2008. The project represents an investment by consortium members of more than US$500 million.
"In addition to a diverse route directly to China, this cable will add capacity and the higher-speed service customers are demanding," Briggs said. "We also will improve provisioning intervals and reduce latency for traffic between the United States and many countries in the region."
The cable will have a landing point provided by Verizon Business at Nedonna Beach, Oregon, on the U.S. West Coast and will land on the China mainland at Qingdao and Chongming. TPE will also have landings in Tanshui, Taiwan, and Keoje, South Korea.
Verizon Business already owns and operates one of the largest global IP networks, spanning 150 countries across six continents with more than 446,000 route miles. The company is involved in more than 65 submarine cable networks carrying mission-critical traffic for multi-national customers worldwide. Recently, Verizon Business deployed an advanced technology trans-Atlantic "mesh" network that interconnects, or meshes, various existing cables, resulting in more diverse routes and multiple millisecond restoration paths.
When completed, TPE will complement the company's capacity in existing submarine cables in the Asia-Pacific region. It also represents a continuation of the company's strategy to remain an active leader in the development of submarine cable systems. Verizon Business has ownership in more than 18 cable systems in the Asia-Pacific region including: Japan-U.S., China-U.S., Southern Cross (United States, New Zealand and Australia) and the new SEA-ME-WE-4 cable, put into service in December 2005, linking Europe and Asia.