With one of the most aggressive submarine cable builds in the world now complete, the first phase of the Trans-Pacific Express submarine cable system directly connecting Mainland China, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan is ready for service. The 18,000 kilometer (more than 11,000 mile) fiber-optic undersea cable will play a significant role in driving new development for international telecommunications in the Asia-Pacific region.

Originally announced as a 5.12 terabit system in December 2006, the cable system has increased in capacity, and when fully deployed when phase two is completed, TPE will be a 6 terabit submarine cable system.

The six international telecommunications carriers initially investing in the Trans-Pacific Express Submarine Cable Consortium -- China NetCom, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, Korea Telecom and Verizon Business -- knew a monumental task was ahead when they set out to build and make ready for service within two years the most advanced submarine cable in the Pacific Ocean.

Selecting Tyco Telecommunications as the prime supplier for this cable system, all parties pushed aggressively to ensure that the original goal of activating the cable system in third quarter 2008 became reality. Earlier this year, AT&T Inc. and NTT Communications Corporation became the newest members of the TPE Consortium. With the addition of NTT Communications, the TPE cable system will add a submarine cable link to Japan giving the TPE cable system six landing sites -- one in Japan, two in mainland China, and one each in Taiwan, South Korea and the United States.

The TPE cable has been designed to provide greater capacity and higher speeds to meet the dramatic increase in demand for IP, data and voice communications in the Asia-Pacific region.