SingTel – BT

SingTel-linked cable system completed

Unity Cable, a US$300 million link between Japan and the US, will help meet demand for bandwidth by businesses and consumers

SUBMARINE cable capacity in the region got a major boost yesterday with the completion of a US$300 million link between Japan and the United States.

The 9,620km Unity Cable, which took almost two years to complete, is funded by a consortium of six members – Singapore Telecom and its Indian associate Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, PacNet, Japanese telco KDDI and Internet giant Google.

After extensive testing, the cable is ready for service, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday.

The system is capable of transferring data at 4.8 Tbps (terabits per second) between the US and Asia. It will help meet explosive demand for bandwidth by businesses and consumers as regional Internet penetration soars.

It also provides an alternative path for diverting Internet traffic should other submarine cable systems be disrupted.

Telcos worldwide have stepped up sub-sea investments after the 2006 Taiwanese earthquakes severed major submarine cable links with the US and slowed Web traffic in the region to a crawl.

Besides Unity Cable, SingTel is involved in a US$400 million submarine cable project within Asia.

The 8,300 km system, called the Southeast Asia Japan Cable (SJC), will initially link Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. It is expected to be operational by 2012.

The SJC is designed to carry data at breakneck speeds of 17 Tbps, claimed and it touted to be the highest capacity system ever built.

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