November 2, 2009
Unity today announced the landing of its Trans-Pacific fiber optic cable system in Chikura, Japan, marking an important milestone in the construction of a new system which will deliver significant increase in capacity between the United States and Japan. With construction on schedule, the new system is planned to be ready for service in the first quarter of 2010.
The cable ship KDDI Pacific Link reached the Japanese coastline in Chikura earlier this week after two months spent laying the newly manufactured cable from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With all the cable segments in place, the mid Pacific splice was completed by the cable ship Tyco Resolute on 30 October 2009, and KDDI Pacific Link will complete the final splice to join the cables off the coast of Japan in the coming two weeks. Upon completion of the final splice, there will be a period of intensive end-to-end testing before the system is put into commercial service.
According to TeleGeography's latest Global Bandwidth Forecast research, Trans-Pacific bandwidth demand has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62.8 percent between 2002 and 2008, and demand is expected to continue on a strong growth trajectory, with an estimated tenfold increase from 2008 to 2013.
"The new Unity cable system will enable members of the consortium to deliver increased capacity and more reliable connectivity to support the growth of bandwidth-hungry applications such as video, the growing popularity of cloud computing and to address the rise of digital content traveling between Asia and the United States," said Chris Wilson, Chairman of the Unity Executive Committee.
Construction of the system was first announced in February 2008 by the consortium comprised of six international companies, including Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, Google, KDDI Corporation, Pacnet and SingTel. The Unity cable system will add up to 4.8 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth across the Pacific and is estimated to cost US$300 million to construct.
The name Unity was chosen to signify a new type of consortium, born out of potentially competing systems, to emerge as a system within a system, offering ownership and management of individual fiber pairs.
This new Trans-Pacific cable will provide connectivity between Chikura, located off the coast near Tokyo, to Los Angeles and other West Coast network points of presence. At Chikura, Unity will be seamlessly connected to other cable systems, further enhancing connectivity into Asia.
NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications were selected for construction of the five fiber pair cable system, with each fiber pair having a capacity of up to 960 Gigabits per second (Gbps). By having a high fiber count, Unity is able to offer more capacity at lower unit costs.