High growth continues for submarine fiber-optic systems in Asia Pacific

June 1, 1998

High growth continues for submarine fiber-optic systems in Asia Pacific

Despite a recent downturn in economic health and stability, the Asia Pacific market continues to see consistent growth in the deployment for fiber-optic networks, particularly submarine fiber-optic systems for international telecommunications.

According to The Pioneer Report, published by Pioneering Consulting (Cambridge, MA), over $6 billion will be invested in undersea fiber-optic cables in the Asia Pacific region between 1998 and 2001. This will result in a total investment of $14 billion in undersea cables for the region and a total of 295,370 route-km of deployed cable.

Important planned systems in the Pacific Rim include the following:

U.S./China Fiber Cable: The 27,000-km

long cable will run in a loop, between Shanghai and Shantou in China, and Bandon, OR, and San Luis Obispo, CA, in the United States. It will also land in South Korea, Japan, and Guam. The estimated cost of the project is $1.4 billion.

Pacific Crossing-1: PC-1 is a 20,000-km

cable system that will link Japan and the United States. Companies in this venture are Global Crossing Ltd., Tyco International Ltd., kdd Submarine Cable Systems, and Marubeni Corp.

Asia Pacific Advanced Network (apan):

The apan, first proposed by Korea during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (apec) summit in 1996, is intended to interconnect apec`s 18 member countries via optical cables capable of handling broadband communications services.

Orient Express, Asia-Direct Cable, and

Hawaii Express Cable System: This is a proposed private cable system in which capacity would be sold or leased to users on a non-tariffed, non-common carrier basis. The cable system is proposed by Neptune Communications of Virginia.

Southern Cross Cable: A cable system

planned by Telecom New Zealand and Optus, Southern Cross will be deployed in a ring architecture between Australia, Hawaii, the U.S. West Coast, and New Zealand. It will operate at speeds from 10 to 30 Gbits/sec.

tpc-6 (or U.S.-Japan): A proposed sys-

tem from at&t and kdd that would operate at 100 Gbits/sec, using soliton technology, it is expected to accommodate over 1.2 million telephone circuits or 2000 TV channels. The cable is scheduled for operation in 2000.

apcn-2: A proposed follow-on to the re-

cently completed Asia Pacific Cable Network (apcn), this system will employ wavelength-division multiplexing technology and likely will operate at 100 Gbits/sec, matching proposed transpacific systems for the year 2000.

Project Oxygen: Perhaps the most im-

portant cable system ever proposed, this system would effectively overlay the existing submarine fiber cable infrastructure with a multi-wavelength optical network capable of carrying up to 1.2 Tbits/sec throughout every region of the globe. The enormous abundance of capacity this system would create will drive service prices down dramatically, particularly IP-based services, which by 2003 could represent the overwhelming proportion of the telecommunications market. With this oversupply of capacity, existing carrier relationships with submarine cable systems could become obsolete. Initial planning for the system specifies 320,000 km, with 4 fiber pairs operating at 80 Gbits/sec, completed by 2003. This would include at least three transpacific links.

For further information, call Pioneer Consulting at (617) 441-3900 or e-mail [email protected]