RealTime IT News

New Cable Link To Asia To Boost Web

Australian telecommunications carrier Telstra will participate in a consortium that is planning a major new international submarine cable to cater for the country's Internet, voice, high speed data and multimedia services demands.

The proposed Australia-Japan cable would link the east coast of Australia to Japan, a distance of 10,200 km. From there it would connect into Asia and across the established Northern Global Highway submarine cable network to North America.

The cable has a design capacity of 640 gigabits per second, which is potentially more than 500 times the combined capacity of the existing PacRim West, which links Australia to Asia, and the PacRim East, which connects the country to North America.

Although Telstra will not commit to an estimated cost of this cable scheme, it is rumoured to be worth approximately $500 million.

Telstra is one of three carriers to have signed a Feasibility Study Memorandum of Understanding (FSMOU) for the project. None of the other participants have yet been identified, with Telstra Public Affairs officer Martin Ratia only observing that they "are very big players indeed". AT&T is, however, speculated to be one of the other partners.

The cable project is still in its infancy, and the announcement has primarily been timed to coincide with Telstra's appearance at the bi-annual CommunicAsia 99 conference and exhibition.

Now that the FSMOU has been signed, though, Ratia said that it will be "two or three months" before plans for the cable project begin or are amended.

This scheme is part of Telstra's recently announced emphasis on overseas opportunities for growth. According to the company's newly appointed Wholesale & International group managing director, Doug Campbell, Telstra will look more to build relationships with "established businesses in Europe, the US and the Asia Pacific region to branch out into new businesses." In the past, Telstra's international businesses have generally operated independently.

Another of these new international projects the APCN2 submarine cable consortium. This cable, which is scheduled for completion in 2002, has a design capacity of 640 gigabits and will connect Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and, via connecting cable systems, Europe. China Telecom, Japan Telecom, Korea Telecom, and Telekom Malaysia are among the other partners in this project.