Alcatel (News - Alert)-Lucent and NEC Network to Span Half the Globe
People have been traversing the globe for centuries, and modern technology has made intercontinental travel a common occurrence. Even more so, today’s business world is a global one, where communications are not hindered by stormy seas and mountain ranges. This includes interpersonal communications, document sharing, global commerce, entertainment, and more.
But while telecommunications innovations have significantly enhanced the ability of consumers and businesses to interact across borders with ease, the tremendous influx of new business opportunities, new communications technologies, and new multimedia content and distribution channels has created an even greater demand for more and better access means — which is one reason cable operators, telcos, and ISPs are investing in new technologies to supplant their aging and soon to be obsolete network infrastructures. It is also why the likes of Verizon (News - Alert), BT, and other carriers are investing heavily in new physical networks. But most of these are national or regional networks, and with the continued growth of global commerce, intercontinental connections are also in need of enhancement.
One of the methods for connecting regions is submarine networking, which NEC (News - Alert) Corporation has been developing for more than 30 years — the company has managed the construction of nearly all of the cable systems available today in the Asia Pacific region. Submarine cabling provides cable systems the ability to span wide distances, while alleviating the need for intermediate stops, which have traditionally been a costly necessity. Submarine networking systems can be employed as either point-to-point services, or as a backbone for other network architectures.
To enhance opportunities between Asia and North America, Alcatel-Lucent and NEC Corporation have been contracted to jointly deploy the new Asia America Gateway (News - Alert) (AAG), which will be the first Terabit (one trillion bits) submarine cable network between Southeast Asia and the United States. The network, which is set to span nearly 12,500 miles (more than 20,000 km), will link network endpoints in Malaysia and America’s West Coast by way of Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii. The contract for a network that will span a distance nearly half the circumference of the earth is valued at approximately $500 million.
While current infrastructures might be enough to handle today’s requirements — though even that is arguable — forecasts of growth in IP-based applications, including voice, video, and data services, will exhaust existing network capacities very quickly. By creating a direct link between Asia and the United States, the network will alleviate compatibility issues between intermediaries, and will increase the stability of connections between the regions. In addition, it will enable future connections into other areas of the world, including Africa, India, Europe, and Australia, and will significantly improve communications capabilities between the interconnected regions.
The contract was designed by a ten-party consortium: the Government of Brunei, AT&T (News - Alert) (USA), Bharti (India), CAT (Thailand), PLDT (Philippines), PT Telkom (Indonesia), Telekom Malaysia (Malaysia), Telstra (Australia), StarHub (Singapore), and VNPT (Vietnam). Under the contract, Alcatel-Lucent and NEC are tasked with designing, manufacturing, integrating, and commissioning the new turnkey intercontinental submarine network. The project is targeted for completion in late 2008.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine. Prior to joining TMC, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.