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Work begins on undersea cable

[ 2007-10-23 17:00]     字号 [] [] []  
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Construction on a $500 million fiber-optic submarine cable directly linking the Chinese mainland and the United States formally started yesterday in Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong.

The undersea cable is scheduled for completion by next July. It will help avoid possible Internet breakdowns caused by frequent earthquakes off China's Taiwan coast.

It will also be used to transmit high-definition television programs during next year's Beijing Olympic Games.

Investment in the cable, known as Trans-Pacific Express or TPE, comes from a consortium of six telecoms operators. Those telecom companies are China Telecom, China Netcom and China Unicom on the Chinese mainland, and Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan, Korea Telecom (KT) and Verizon Business from the United States.

Most undersea cables were previously laid through maritime areas off southern Taiwan. A powerful earthquake off the Taiwan coast on December 26, 2006 cut off six undersea cables. The result was severe Internet congestion around Asia, including China, and interruptions in international phone calls.

The TPE, with a total length of 26,000 km, will not pass by the earthquake zone near Taiwan, and will generally be more secure, China Netcom said.

It is also expected to significantly ease the strain on Internet networks caused by the rapid growth in the number of users in China and the US.

China Netcom said Sino-US communication services account for more than half of China's total international business.

The TPE will provide greater capacity and higher speeds to meet the increase in demand for Internet, data and voice communications between the US and Asia, it said.

A China Telecom spokesperson said the company had already started laying TPE cables in some parts of Shanghai.

China Netcom is betting on the TPE to transmit Olympic TV programs next year, along with existing satellite broadcast networks.

Netcom signed a 2005 deal with Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co Ltd (BOB), a joint venture between BOCOG and Olympic Broadcasting Services, to provide TV transmission services.

Since then it has clinched service agreements with a number of companies including the European Broadcasting Union, Deutsche Telekom and Australia's Telstra.


1. The construction on the new Trans-Pacific Express cable began in which Chinese city?

2. How much will the cable cost?

3. How long will the cable be?


1. Qingdao.

2. $500 million.

3. 26,000 km.

(英语点津 Linda 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Work begins on undersea cable

Jonathan Stewart is a media and journalism expert from the United States with four years of experience as a writer and instructor. He accepted a foreign expert position with chinadaily.com.cn in June 2007 following the completion of his Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Comparative Politics.