A 7,000-kilometre overland fibre-optic cable linking China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore began carrying commercial traffic Thursday, according to Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), one of the project’s backers.

The cable, which has a capacity of 2.5G bps (bits per second), will be used as an alternative route for international leased circuit, Internet and voice services that are carried on existing submarine cables such as APCN (Asia-Pacific Cable Network) and SEA-ME-WE (South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe) 3, SingTel said in a statement.

The China-Southeast Asia Cable will also provide connectivity to other major cable systems such as the China-U.S.cable network via some of its strategic landing points. The China-Southeast Asia Cable has seven connection points – Shanghai and Guangzhou in China, Hanoi in Vietnam, Vientiane in Laos, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Using SDH (synchronous digital hierarchy) technology, this cable is designed to carry an equivalent of 30,000 simultaneous telephone calls. The cable will be self-healing when the protection routes are fully constructed in 2002, according to the statement.

Besides SingTel, the other partners in this cable project are China Telecom Ltd., Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corp. (VNPT), Lao Telecommunications Co., the Communications Authority of Thailand and Telekom Malaysia Bhd.

SingTel, in Singapore, can be reached at http://www.singtel.com/.

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