The Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) Consortium – which has been designing and constructing a fiber optic submarine communications cable between the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region – has added two new members: AT&T and NTT Communications Corp.
The two companies join the six charter members – Verizon Business, China Netcom, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom and Korea Telecom.
With the addition of NTT Communications, the TPE cable will add a subsea cable link to Japan, which is expected to be completed in March 2009. A Japan-to-U.S. link is expected to be completed in early 2010. TPE landing sites also are located in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and the U.S.
The TPE cable is the first multi-terabit optical cable directly linking the U.S. mainland and East Asia, the consortium said, and it has a design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps.
The consortium expects to support current and future needs for high-speed traffic, as well as enhance reliability by securing route diversity from other submarine cables between the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S.
AT&T said the move would not affect its capital spending plans, but that it would be part of an already announced $1 billion investment plan for 2008 to improve services for multinational companies.
Verizon issued the following statement regarding the new additions: "As an original member of the TPE Consortium, we welcome NTT and AT&T. NTT's participation is great news for our multinational customers, who will benefit from an additional link with Japan.”
The TPE was first launched in late 2006 after an earthquake in Asia disrupted Internet service around the region and highlighted the need for a more robust system.
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