Verizon, partners to build US-China optical cable
December 19, 2006 3:10am CST
Verizon Communications Inc. and five Asian partners plan to build an underwater optical cable between the United States and China to meet rising demand for high-speed Internet access. The cable, almost half the distance around the world, will have about 60 times the capacity of existing lines between the United States and China, and be capable of supporting the equivalent of 62 million phone calls simultaneously, Verizon said on Monday. Most existing cables between the two countries go through Japan, slowing service. The project, called Trans-Pacific Express (TPE), will cost the consortium more than $500 million, Verizon said. Verizon, China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom will start building the cable, which will extend more than 18,000 km (more than 11,000 miles), in the first quarter of 2007. Construction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2008, Verizon said in a statement, adding that it would likely see a return on the investment from its first year. "This state-of-the-art cable will support high-speed traffic to the world's fastest-growing region -- the Asia-Pacific," Fred Briggs, executive vice president of operations and technology at Verizon Business, said in a press statement. Verizon Business is the division of the No. 2 U.S. phone carrier that handles corporate sales.