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Telstra Lands Undersea Cable Linking 33 Countries

Telstra is moving to satisfy booming demand for global Internet, phone, video and fax services with the launch of a new $1.3 billion undersea cable project that will link the nation to more than half the world's population.

The cable is part of an extensive project that began in 1997 and is expected to start carrying traffic later this year.

The Australian phone company is one of five investors funding a 37,000-kilometer cable will link Australia will 33 countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe. Telstra hopes it will be a significant part of its plan to increase online revenues to $5.1 billion by 2001.

"With global online business forecast to be a $4.1 billion industry and Internet and data earning $1.3 billion in revenues by 2001, Telstra has a very sound reason to be investing in the cable," said Lawrence Paratz, head of Telstra's Network and IT Infrastructure.

He said the link is crucial for meeting customer demand for Internet and other interactive services.

"Voice traffic remains a priority for Telstra, but a growing Internet focus means that Telstra's local Internet traffic will exceed voice traffic within the next few years, as it already has internationally," Paratz said.

Composed of a 2-pair optical fiber cable system, each pair of fibers will be capable of transmitting 20 gigabits of data per second. That equates to 500,000 simultaneous phone calls, 1,000 broadcast-quality TV channels or 1 million e-mails each second.

The cable will also play a key role in supporting global demand for 24-hour digital coverage of the 2000 Olympics to be held in Sydney.



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