US, Chinese carriers to build communications link

In a sign of the stronger economic ties between the US and China, Verizon Communications is part of a plan to spend $500 million building the first high-speed optical communications line linking the two countries, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the Trans-Pacific Express, as the line will be called, will be an undersea, fiber-optic system that can handle voice and data in huge batches, the equivalent of 62 million simultaneous phone conversations, according to Verizon.

Individual customers would be able to transfer data as quickly as a blazing 10Gbps.

New York-based Verizon announced its deal to build the 17,600-kilometer system with partners China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom and companies in Korea and Taiwan. Construction is due to begin in the next three months and end in the third quarter of 2008, the report said.

The fiber-optic line will be an enhancement to a lower-speed system that serves as the lone direct link between the US and China, it added.

Verizon said the new cable has more than 60 times the capacity of the previous system, which can cause Internet traffic bouncing between the US and Asia to slow, the report further said.