Russo-Japanese fibre link goes live in June

The 570km the Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System will go live in June. The fibre optic link will carry data at speeds up to 640Gps and will facilitate communications between Japan and Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.

The newly installed cable connects Ishikari in Hokkaido and Nevelsk in Russia's Far East. Construction cost was shared equally between TTC, a unit of Russian Railways, and NTT Communications.

Sergey Lipatov, president of TTC, told a news conference in Tokyo that since the new cable will be connected to the company's backbone - a 55,000km network stretching from Sakhalin to the west of Russia - it will be an important data network and Internet link between Japan and Europe.

Lipatov claimed that although there are other cables that connect Japan and Europe, they run under the Indian or Pacific Oceans and are also linked to the US. He argued the new route would be more stable and reliable because most of the cable is under Russian soil instead of below the ocean.

On the other hand, it also gives Russia almost complete control of the most of the length of the link between Europe and Japan, and as it has demonstrated on a number of occasions with its gas and oil supplies, it is prepared to turn them off if its clients do anything to provoke it.

The two telecom operators installed the Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System last December. It now undergoing final tests.