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KDD Opens Japan Information Highway

In a significant boost for the nation's domestic multimedia infrastructure, KDD Corp. has brought online its high-capacity optical-fiber submarine cable, dubbed the Japan Information Highway (JIH).

The undersea JIH cable extends for a total of 10,300 km and links all the main islands of the Japanese archipelago. It became operational on April 1.

KDD invested some 130 billion yen (US$1.08 billion) in construction of the 100-gigabits per second (100 Gbps) cable, which forms a loop around Japan's three most heavily populated islands: Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. A dual branch at the loop's northern portion connects Hokkaido, while a single branch at its southern portion links Okinawa.

KDD Submarine Cable Systems (KDD SCS) began the main phase of cable laying in May 1998. Five cable ships, including the newly commissioned KDD Pacific Link, were used for the work, which was completed in November.

The undersea cable has 17 "landing stations" (land-based linkages)--one each on Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Okinawa islands, two on Kyushu island, and 12 on the main island Honshu.

The JIH also links with about a dozen existing or planned international undersea cables that connect Japan with the US, Asia, and Europe.

According to KDD, "the Japan Information Highway is designed to make Japan a hub of the Asia-Pacific region and further improve the Japanese telecommunication infrastructure in anticipation of the multimedia age."

The cable consists of three fiber pairs, with 14 wavelengths of 2.5G bps each per pair. Total JIH line capacity is 100G bps, the equivalent of 1.2 million telephone lines.

The JIH utilizes wavelength division multiplexing technology with very broadband optical amplifiers developed by KDD R&D Laboratories. To ensure high reliability, it employs "double-landing" and "double-branching" and incorporates a self-healing function that can instantly and automatically recover from a failure.

KDD will wholesale capacity on JIH to other Japanese and foreign carriers. By the end of May, KDD intends to integrate the JIH cable with its own nationwide 9,000-km high-speed optical-fiber network that runs along the nation's highways.

KDD planned its domestic network with the ever-increasing transmission capacity and speed demands of Internet, corporate extranet, and video communication uses in mind.

"Optical wavelength division multiplexing transmission and other leading-edge optical-fiber technologies will enable us to expand the capacity of the JIH cable and [our land-based] optical-fiber cable network, thereby assisting both to cope with increased demand, " said KDD.

The company's next major infrastructure project is the KDD Terabit Highway (KTH21). If this year's tests are successful, KDD intends to switch its existing domestic trunk lines to this next-generation 1-terabit (1,000 gigabits) per second IP (Internet protocol) network by 2005, and its major international trunk lines by 2010.

KDD Corp. was created through a merger of former government-controlled international carrier KDD (Kokusai Denshin Denwa Co., Ltd.) with domestic telecommunications carrier Teleway Corp. on December 1, 1998.

KDD launched domestic long-distance services last summer, following abolishment of the KDD Law that had restricted it to international telephony services.