The first phase of the Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) submarine cable system that connects Mainland China, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan is ready for service.

First announced in December, the 18,000-kilometer (more than 11,000-mile) fiber optic undersea cable is expected to drive new development for international telecommunications in the Asia-Pacific region. When it is fully deployed after phase two is completed, the TPE will be a 6 terabit submarine cable system.

The six international telecommunications carriers that initially invested in the Trans-Pacific Express Submarine Cable Consortium are China NetCom, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Korea Telecom and Verizon Business. Earlier this year, AT&T and NTT Communications Corp. became the newest members of the TPE Consortium.

"As the only U.S.-based founding member of the consortium, we were able to help guide the direction of the TPE cable and provide all U.S. operational needs for the TPE Consortium," said Ihab Tarazi, Verizon Business’ vice president of global network planning. "We have a dedicated group of Verizon Business engineers and submarine cable experts who teamed with other consortium members to design, engineer and build this entire cable system with our cable supplier in record time. We are involved in more than 65 submarine cable systems around the world, but this TPE cable network is one of the most aggressive submarine cable builds we've worked on in the last 15 years."

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