Pact for Asian regional fibre network signed

A group of 26 international telecommunications carriers has taken a big step toward improving Asia's telecommunications infrastructure with the signing of an agreement that should see a new regional undersea fibre-optic network, the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2), in operation by the end of September 2001.

At a meeting in Singapore late Monday, the carriers signed a construction and maintenance agreement for the APCN2 system, construction of which is expected to cost $US1 billion. The document is the first legal step in realising the new cable, which until yesterday had been planned under a memorandum of understanding. The agreement contains the technical specifications of the system and describes the legal relationship among the participating carriers and issues such as how costs will be shared and maintenance work carried out.

When it is completed, the APCN2 will be a 19,000-kilometre system that links Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore in a ring. Initially, capacity will be set at either 80- or 160G bits per second (bps), but the system will be able to be upgraded to 2.56T bps with the use of WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) technology.

In addition to connecting in to the domestic telecommunications networks of the countries where it lands, the cable will also interconnect with several other regional fibre-optic networks, including the China-US Cable Network, the SEA-ME-WE 3 Cable and the Japan-US Cable Network.

Initial partners in the cable system include Advantel (Hong Kong), China Telecom, China United Telecommunications, Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), Concert Communications (Bermuda), Cable & Wireless HKT (Hong Kong), Cable & Wireless Global Network (Ireland), Global One (Japan), Japan Telecom, KDD (Japan), Korea Telecom, Koninklijke KPN NV (Netherlands), Layer 2 Communications Group (British Virgin Islands), MCII (US), Metromedia Fibre Network (US), New Century Infocomm (Taiwan), NTT Communications (Japan), OneLink Cable Network (Hong Kong), Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Singapore Telecommunications, StarHub(Singapore), Taiwan Fixed Net, Teleglobe Communications (Canada), Telstra Global Networks (Bermuda), Telekom Malaysia Bhd. and Williams Communications Group (US).

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