News | January 2, 2007

Race To Build First High-Speed Transpacific Undersea Cable Leads To Honolulu

Honolulu — Between the U.S. and Asia, a battle looms over the rights to carry information – in the form of high-speed underwater cable or satellite – between Asia's booming economy and the U.S. A number of contenders, representing opposing consortiums in the race to be the world's first Asian-American high-speed superhighway, will converge in Honolulu January 14 – 17 at Pacific Telecommunication Council's (PTC) 2007 Conference Beyond Telecom.

Some experts say only one consortium will emerge because multiple high speed cables may flood capacity. The prize at stake: the first in the market will gain the earliest opportunity to woo Asia's highly coveted customer base. Demand for a variety of high-capacity applications including IPTV, online gaming, and business process outsourcing will be enhanced by 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

Renowned submarine cable expert and newly elected member to PTC's Board of Governors John Hibbard, CEO of Australia's Hibbard Consulting Pty. Ltd., will lead one of two keynote forums on the topic: Innovations for the Asia Pacific Region. "Submarine cable technology is a rapidly evolving industry," he said. "High technology companies around the world are knocking on China's door for a chance at the immense telecommunications business that is emerging," he said. China has been tightly controlled by the government, and any foreign company wanting access to the market is required to work with an existing Chinese carrier. "The new multi-national deals being forged now will lay the groundwork for one of the biggest telecommunications opportunities on the world's horizon," he said. "We are honored to host the global industry leaders at PTC ‘07."

Verizon Business – which will be represented at PTC '07 – currently leads the race to Asia with its recently signed deal with Asia consortium members Chunghwa Telecom Co., China Netcom, China Telecom, China Unicom and KT Corp. Most members of the consortium will be represented at PTC '07. The anticipated start date of Verizon's project, dubbed the Trans-Pacific Express, is just around the corner in early 2007.

It will create capacity for future internet growth, video-conferencing, and e-commerce while supporting the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous voice calls and will increase, by 60-fold, the undersea capacity between China and the U.S A new direct link between the two world economies, whose existing low capacity cable has routed data through Hong Kong and Japan, will be forged. Expected price tag: $500 million.

At the same time, Asia Netcom – whose CEO Bill Barney will deliver a keynote presentation at PTC '07: Beyond the Bubble and into a New Reality – is reportedly talking with an unnamed Indian carrier about a proposed link between the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, the mainland U.S. and Japan. According to those reports, the company has already raised $800 million for the project. Barney is newly elected to PTC's Board of Governors.

Other groups on Verizon's heels include AT&T, also to be represented at PTC '07. AT&T is reported to be considering an alliance with the Telekom Malaysia-backed Asia-America Gateway - currently linking various ASEAN nations to the U.S.

Opening Plenary speakers include:

  • Srinath Narasimhan, Executive Director, VSNL India
  • Shin Cho, Senior VP & Head of Strategy & Planning Group, SK Telecom
  • Larry Keeley, President, Doblin, Inc.

PTC '07 will be held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. Space is limited. Online registration is available at Interviews with keynote speakers can be arranged through the Pacific Telecommunications Council contacts listed above.

PTC '07 is presented by Pacific Telecommunications Council and co-hosted by Stealth Communications Inc., Telus, Tyco, Verizon Business International Partner Solutions (IPS), VSNL International, Arbinet, Asia Netcom, AT&T, CPCNet Hong Kong Ltd, France Telecom Group, GCI, Intelsat Ltd., LoralSkynet, Macquarie Telecom, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Qwest Communications, Korea Telecom (KT), PacketFront, REDCOM Laboratories, Redline Communications, Boeing Satellite Systems International, China Telecom USA, CITIC 1616 Level 3 Communications Inc., Pacific Crossing Limited (PCL), and SubOptic.

SOURCE: Pacific Telecommunications Council