Trans-Pacific Express, the first direct fiber optic fiber cable between China and the U.S., has been approved to land in the United States.

The TPE cable is the first next-generation undersea optical cable system directly linking the U.S. and mainland China. It also is the first major undersea system to land on the U.S. West Coast in more than seven years. The 17,000-kilometer 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 U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region and within the region.

Verizon, an American company which is also one of the investors of the project, said that it had received a license from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, approving the cable to land in Oregon. Verizon said it filed the application with the FCC in 2007.

The TPE cable — being built by a consortium comprised of Verizon Business, China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom — can support the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous phone calls, more than 60 times the overall capacity of the existing cable directly linking the U.S. and China. The cable will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 terabits per second, 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.

Manufacturing and construction to complete the TPE submarine cable is well under way. The first cable was placed into the water near the Korean coast on September 21, 2007, and the first 55 kilometers of TPE cable was placed off the U.S. West Coast in late November. Numerous cable-laying ships are in the Pacific Ocean today placing this state-of-the-art undersea cable. The TPE system is on schedule to be completed and in service by August, in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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