By Submarine Cable NewsFeed

AT&T Inc. has announced plans to increase the scope and resiliency of the company's global network by joining a consortium to build a submarine cable network, named Trans-Pacific Express (TPE), that links Japan, Mainland China, Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

TPE is a new, high bandwidth fiber-optic submarine cable currently being built by a consortium that now includes AT&T. The cable network can carry up to 5.12 Tbps over a total of 18,000 kilometers. A China-U.S. route is scheduled to be operating by August 2008, followed by the launch of a Japan-China route in March 2009, the company said in a statement.

As customers worldwide are experiencing an explosive surge in data, voice and video traffic, AT&T is strengthening its global network to meet their needs by offering more capacity and diversity throughout the world. The TPE cable network will help AT&T meet that international demand, and the network will enhance reliability by providing more diversity for the traffic that is generated throughout the Asia-Pacific region to the United States.

“We are committed to the continued expansion and diversification of our global network,” said John Stankey, group president of telecom operations for AT&T. “As international demand for increased bandwidth continues to grow, AT&T is building a network to handle the requirements of our customers now and into the future. The Trans-Pacific Express cable network will increase data and voice reliability, and it will enhance diversity and resiliency to AT&T customers.”

AT&T owns or leases capacity on more than 70 submarine cable systems, which span more than 456,000 fiber-route miles around the globe, including several submarine cable routes that the company uses to carry traffic between the Asia-Pacific region and North America. Signifying its strong commitment to Asia, AT&T signed an agreement last year to help build the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable system, which is the first high-bandwidth optical-fiber submarine cable system that goes from Southeast Asia direct to North America.

TPE routes will enhance AT&T's expansive, growing submarine cable network throughout Asia, providing higher capacity and diversity in the Asia-Pacific and trans-Pacific regions. The submarine cable investments will be used to extend AT&T's intelligent optical network with optical mesh restoration.

Joining the TPE cable network consortium is one of many initiatives included in AT&T's planned $1 billion investment in 2008 to continue expanding the company's industry-leading network of solutions for multinational companies.