Transpacific undersea cable completed

Some of the world's leading phone companies complete the construction of an undersea cable to provide more Internet capacity between the U.S. and parts of Asia.

Marguerite Reardon
Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.

A crucial undersea fiber-optic cable that will provide more Internet capacity between the U.S. and China was completed Monday, according to news reports.

Six of the world's largest phone companies have finished building an 18,000-kilometer "Trans-Pacific Express" cable that will link the U.S., China, South Korea, and Taiwan, according to the Dow Jones news service.

The high-speed link will provide more capacity for the region, which is currently served by a single low-capacity cable that provides connectivity between mainland China and the U.S. Most Web traffic between the U.S. and China goes through Hong Kong or Japan. These routes can often cause transmission delays.

The project, which cost about $500 million, was prompted when an earthquake off Taiwan's coast in December 2006 severed several undersea data cables, which resulted in disrupted communications throughout much of Asia. The world's largest phone companies decided that something had to be done to provide more infrastructure to the region.

U.S. phone giant Verizon Communications joined forces with Korean phone company KT and Taiwanese Chunghwa Telecom, as well as with three Chinese phone companies, China Telecom, China Netcom Group, and China Unicom. The cost of the project was divided evenly among the six partners, according to KT.

AT&T and Japan's NTT Communications have also joined the group. They plan to invest more in the project to extend the cable to Japan.