The first part of the China-U.S. Cable Network, the first undersea optical fiber cable to directly link the U.S. and China, has entered service, according to the consortium building the system.
The cable runs as a ring and connects landing points in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Guam in addition to the U.S. and China and has a total capacity of 80G bits per second, equivalent to 967,680 telephone circuits or, using switching and compression technology, space for four million telephone calls. It is the northern arc of the cable that entered service on Jan. 10.
When the project was announced in March 1997, the group planned to have it completed at the end of 1999 but delays have meant the full cable will not be online until the third quarter of 2000. It is being built by Alcatel Submarine Networks, Fujitsu Ltd., KDD Submarine Cable Systems, NEC Corp. and Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd.
The consortium that originally announced the cable project included AT&T Corp., China Telecom Ltd., MCI Worldcom Inc., Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Sprint Corp., SBC Communications Inc., Cable & Wireless HKT Ltd., Korea Telecom Corp., KDD Corp. and NTT Corp. Since then, the group has been joined by more than 20 additional carriers including Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd., Teleglobe USA, Telekom Malaysia Bhd. and Telstra Corp.
In addition to new members, the cable has also received new competition in the shape of the Pacific Crossing 1 (PC-1) cable being built by Asia Global Crossing Ltd. The first segment of that cable has already entered service -- ahead of schedule and a few weeks before the China-U.S. cable [See "Asia Global Crossing Ties Pacific, Japan Fibers," Dec. 21, 1999].