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China, Taiwan completes first direct undersea cable link
[January 18, 2013]

China, Taiwan completes first direct undersea cable link

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TAIPEI, Jan. 18 -- (Kyodo) _ Data was sent over a submarine cable system linking China and Taiwan on Friday, the first to built across the Taiwan Strait.

Before the cable was built, telecommunications between the two sides had to be routed through South Korea or Japan.

The first subsea cable system linking China and Taiwan became operational in August last year when two subsea fiber-optic cables built between China's southeastern coastal city Xiamen and Taiwan's outlying island group Kinmen near the coast of China sent the first data.

The undersea fiber-optic cable introduced Friday connects the seaside district of Tamsui in northern Taiwan and China's Fuzhou City, opposite northern Taiwan.

"This is just a small step," Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said in Taipei during a "completion ceremony" where a video conference was held from each side of the Taiwan Strait via the subsea fiber-optic cable. "I hope there will be more cables built across the Taiwan Strait in the future." The 270-kilometer cable named Taiwan Strait Express 1 has been laid by Taiwan's largest phone operator Chunghwa Telecom, Far Eastone Communications Co., Taiwan Mobile, Taiwan International Gateway Corp., China Unicom and China Mobile and cost about NT$1 billion (US$34.5 million).

The cable transfers data via an optical fiber system at 6.4 gigabits per second and transmission time is roughly 3 milliseconds.

The cable, scheduled to be fully operational as soon as May, strengthens communication links between the two sides and also carries political significance.

Far Eastern Group Chairman Douglas Hsu said the direct cable system completes the links between the two sides following the establishment of cross-strait links in transportation, trade and aviation since President Ma Ying-jeou was elected in 2008 on a platform to seek closer ties with China.

"This is not only a win-win scenario, but also an all-win situation," he said.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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