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HK's New T&T Joins Japan-US Cable Network Consortium

Hong Kong telco New T&T will participate in a consortium laying a massive submarine fiber optic cable between Japan and the United States which will significantly increase the bandwidth across the Pacific.

New T&T is the first new fixed network operator in Hong Kong to participate in the consortium agreement that will last for a minimum of 25 years.

The consortium currently has more than 45 global telecommunications operators including BT, AT&T, KDD, GlobalOne, Sprint and MCI Worldcom among others, who together are investing around HK$8 billion (US$1.03 billion).

"This is New T&T's first step in investing in international submarine bandwidth. Other submarine cable investments will follow," explained Vincent Ma, New T&T's director of business development at a press conference held today.

"This is part of our overall investment strategy in keeping with the [Hong Kong] government's objective of enhancing Hong Kong's local and external telecommunication infrastructure capability through deregulation," added Ma.

Connecting Japan, the US mainland and Hawaii by the middle of 2000, the self-healing 21,000-kilometer cable consists of four fiber pairs using state-of-the-art synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) technology.

Initially operating at 80 gigabits per second, the system will accommodate one million simultaneous voice calls or the equivalent data capacity. Further expansion of the network is planned to operate at 640 gigabits per second, which will enable eight million simultaneous voice calls or equivalent data capacity, providing the largest network capacity in the region.

The landing points will be in six locations; three in Japan and three in the USA. New T&T says that it will invest in other submarine cable infrastructure to connect this cable from Japan to Hong Kong.

New T&T is a member of The Wharf Group of companies, one of Hong Kong's largest conglomerates and the owner of Hong Kong Cable Television Limited.

Hong Kong Cable, which the Wharf Group plans to list on NASDAQ, is setting up a cable-based broadband Internet service in Hong Kong which is scheduled to launch by the end of the year.