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Asian submarine cable system going live in 2015 as Korea's KT hooks up

The new fiber-optic cables will connect nine countries and be capable of speeds of up to 38.3 terabits per second, the Korean network says.

The Asia Pacific Gateway undersea cable will connect the above cities. NTT

The long-awaited Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) undersea cable system appears to be nearing completion. Korean carrier KT has opened a network operating center for the APG in the city of Busan and has confirmed that it is preparing for full operation in early 2015, according to local media reports.

The trans-Asian submarine fiber-optic cable system has been in the works since May 2009, when a consortium of network operators in Asia agreed to lay more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of cable from Malaysia to Japan, connecting nine countries in total. Facebook later joined the consortium.

The current cable landing points for the APG include Tanah Merah in Singapore, Kuantan in Malaysia, Songkhla in Thailand, Da Nang in Vietnam, Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong, Toucheng in Taiwan, Nanhui and Chongming in mainland China, Busan in South Korea, and Shima and Maruyama in Japan.

The APG will be able to notch up to 38.4 terabits per second (Tbps) -- a considerable upgrade from any other submarine cable system in Korea, which touts between 2.56 and 7.68Tbps speeds.

"That is equivalent to transmitting 7,200 movies in 1 second," a KT spokesperson said. "When the APG becomes fully operational, users will actually feel overseas Internet addresses loading at least twice as fast."

Since its proposal in 2009, the consortium of carriers has had trouble bringing the APG to fruition. Lack of funding from investors as well as competing consortiums launching their own cable systems (the Asian Submarine-cable Express and South-East Asia Japan Cable) almost resulted in the project being shelved. The APG only gained momentum when Facebook and Malaysian network TIME dotCom were accepted into the consortium as investors in 2012.