NEC to extend EAC-1 cable to mainland China

NEC will bolster China Netcom's bandwidth into and out of mainland China with a 350-kilometer submarine cable to be ready for service in mid-2006.

NEC will lay a 350-kilometer fiber optic submarine cable for China Network Communications Group (China Netcom), China's second-largest fixed-line telecommunications carrier, to boost the operator's capacity in time for the 2008 Olympics, NEC announced Wednesday.

The East Asia Crossing-1 (EAC-1) Qingdao Landing Extension Submarine Cable System will connect mainland China with EAC-1, a fiber optic submarine cable owned by Asia Netcom, a subsidiary of China Netcom, according to Akiko Shikimori, a spokeswoman for NEC.

China Netcom needs the extra capacity provided by the extension to meet a surge in demand for telephony that it anticipates will come with the Beijing Olympics. The extension will have an initial capacity of 40G bps (bits per second) and will be in service by June 2006, she said.

The contract was signed in Beijing between China Netcom and NEC on Tuesday, and construction of the cable link will begin during the third quarter, she said. She declined to comment on the value of the contract.

However, a source familiar with the contract said a news report by the Chinese press that placed the value of the project at US$24 million "sounded about correct."

EAC-1 is part of the 18,700-kilometer East Asia Crossing ring of submarine cable that connects Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, The Philippines and Japan, according to NEC.

Qingdao, a city in China's Shandong Province, sits on the coast of the Yellow Sea opposite the Korean Peninsula. The city will host Olympic yacht racing events.

Under the contract with China Netcom, NEC will also supply the extension cable's repeater and transmission systems, and the extension can be upgraded to 1.28T bps, NEC said.