Constructing the First 'Trans-Pacific Express'
Constructing the First 'Trans-Pacific Express'

TAIPEI—On October 22, a ground-breaking ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of the Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) was held in Qingdao City, Shandong Province in China. This is the first multi-terabit undersea fiber optic cable system to connect mainland China and the United States.

The TPE is funded by a consortium of six telecoms operators: China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Korea Telecom, and Verizon of the United States, with a total investment of US$500 million. The TPE, with a total length of 26,000 kilometers (16,000 miles), will land in Qingdao, Shanghai's Chongming Island, Danshuei in Taiwan, Keoje in Korea, and Nedonna Beach in Oregon of the U.S.

The design bandwidth capacity of this construction is 5.12 Tbps (Tbps = trillion bits per second). It is the most advanced undersea cable system with greater capacity and higher speeds in China. Upon completion, this project will provide increased cable capacity to better meet the growing needs of Internet, data and voice communications between Asia and the U.S., while avoiding possible Internet breakdowns caused by frequent earthquakes off Taiwan.

The two-stage project will initially provide capacity of up to 800 Gbps and deliver a cable capacity of 400 Gbps in Asia. The project is estimated to be completed and put into operation in July 2008.

Even more importantly, completion of the TPE will help satisfy the broadband needs on Internet networks for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In addition, running the TPE through Qingdao means that this coastal city will be the only one in northern China with a landing station of a fiber-optic undersea cable system. Thus, China Netcom, which is betting on the TPE to transmit Olympic TV programs in 2008, will significantly change how communication is routed through the country. As a result, China Netcom can effectively improve Internet communication services.

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