Asia to get ultra high-speed cable system

A consortium has signed an agreement to build an ultra high-bandwidth submarine cable system linking Japan and the United States.

A consortium of Asian and U.S.-based carriers has signed an agreement to construct a new high-bandwidth submarine cable system which will link the United States to Japan.

The carriers--SingTel, Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, Google, KDDI Corporation and Pacnet--will construct the US$300 million system, named Unity.

It will link Chikura, Japan directly to Los Angeles, and is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2010.

Potentially, Unity will be able to support 7.68 terabits per second throughput, equivalent to over seven million users accessing a 1 megabyte file at the same time, said SingTel in a statement.

Mark Chong, SingTel executive vice president for networks said the system will be able to meet the region's "strong demand" for Internet traffic from the United States, as well as act as an "important cable diversity route" feeding traffic to other parts of the region to which it is connected.

Unity, in a statement quoted figures from the 2007 TeleGeography Global Bandwidth Research, stating that there has been a 63.7 percent compound annual growth for trans-Pacific bandwidth between 2002 and 2007.

"It is expected to continue to grow strongly from 2008 to 2013, with total demand for capacity doubling roughly every two years," said Unity.

Unity will supplement the bandwidth to the existing eight major cable systems linking the region to the West. In 2006, an earthquake in Taiwan damaged seven of those, crippling Internet connections from Asia to Europe and the United States.

SingTel, in 2004 with 15 other carriers, built the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable system.