Unity consortium building fiber optic cable between U.S., Asia

Wed, 02/27/2008 - 7:48am
Traci Patterson

The Unity consortium – which comprises Google, India’s Bharti Airtel, Japan’s KDDI Corp. and Asian companies Global Transit, Pacnet and SingTel – is set to build a high-bandwidth, undersea, fiber optic cable that will link the U.S. with Japan.

Construction of the 10,000-kilometer, Trans-Pacific infrastructure will cost about $300 million, but it will provide much-needed capacity to sustain the growth in data and Internet traffic between Asia and the U.S., the companies said.

According to a TeleGeography global bandwidth report for 2007, Trans-Pacific bandwidth demand has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 63.7 percent between 2002 and 2007, and it is expected to continue to grow strongly from 2008 to 2013, with total demand for capacity doubling roughly every two years.

Unity is expected to initially increase Trans-Pacific lit cable capacity by about 20 percent, with the potential to add up to 7.68 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth across the Pacific, according to Unity.

"The Unity cable system allows the members of the consortium to provide the increased capacity needed as more applications and services migrate online, giving users faster and more reliable connectivity,” said Unity spokesperson Jayne Stowell.

Construction of the new cable system is set to begin immediately, with initial capacity targeted to be available in the first quarter of 2010.

The news of the consortium follows several undersea cable outages in the Middle East and Asia, reported in late January and early February (story here).

Additionally, this week Verizon Business deployed an advanced network configuration (meshing) on the Trans-Pacific portion of its global network to provide more diverse routes for its large-business and government customers.

Meshing provides five paths of 10-gigabit capacity for rerouting traffic in the event of a cable cut or other network disruption. Previously, the trans-Pacific transport network used a ring configuration to provide redundant paths, but that architecture provided protection against only a single failure within any network ring, and service restoration on the alternate path usually increased the transmission's latency.

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