January 10, 1996
NYNEX CONTACT: Media Relations,
First Mile Of FLAG Undersea Fiber Optic Cable Laid Off Sicilysize>
-- FLAG to Span 28,000 Kilometers Linking Three Continents
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- The cable-laying ship C.S. Nexus has laid
the first mile of the $1.2 billion FLAG cable system, which will
stretch 28,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) from the UK to Japan.
C.S. Nexus, owned by Cable & Wireless Marine of the UK, began
installing state-of-the-art fiberoptic cable last week off the
coast of Palermo, Sicily, where the 2,149-kilometer (1,289 miles)
leg from Italy to Egypt begins. The ship laid 300 kilometers (180
miles) of cable in less than a week.
FLAG (Fiberoptic Link Around the Globe) will connect Europe, the
Middle East and Asia, linking 75 percent of the world's population
to a "Broadband Superhighway" roughly equivalent in
miles and routing to Marco Polo's 13th-century land and sea trek
from Europe to the Far East.
When completed in 1997, the 120,000-circuit cable will be able
to handle 600,000 simultaneous conversations.
C.S. Nexus is equipped with the latest cable-laying equipment
and staffed by a 50-person crew working 24 hours a day, seven
days a week to install the first leg in approximately 34 days.
A total of 16 segments of the cable will be installed over the
next 18 months.
Other vessels have already cleared FLAG's 14,000-kilometer (8,400
miles) path from the UK to India, removing inactive cables in
portions of the route where cable will be buried.. The remainder
of the route from India to Japan will be cleared by next week.
In addition, smaller vessels off the coast of Egypt have already
installed 13 kilometers (7.8 miles) of cable, which will connect
the landing point at Port Said to the deep sea "main-lay"
cable when it reaches Egypt later this month.
"The FLAG cable will be built in less than two years -- half
the time it took Marco Polo to travel to the Far East," said
Joseph Timpanaro, chairman and chief executive officer of FLAG
Limited. "When FLAG is completed, it will move information
across the same distance in fractions of a second."
"For those who have shared in FLAG's vision, this marks the
culmination of years of work to determine the best configuration
for the route, negotiate landing party agreements, and structure
financing for one of the world's most complex global projects,"
"We are pleased that our experience and skills have enabled
us to contribute to this technological development," commented
Dave Foot, Cable & Wireless Marine chief executive officer.
The start of installation follows a Data Gathering Meeting for
FLAG this past December in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which
was attended by representatives of 67 international carriers.
In all, more than 50 carriers around the world have signed agreements
to purchase capacity on the FLAG cable, including the 12 landing
parties, which also have responsibility for landing the cable
in their countries.
C.S. Nexus set sail for Palermo in December from the east coast
of the United States loaded with 5,500 metric tons (U.S. - 6,060
short tons )of cable and repeaters from a Simplex Technologies
cable factory inNewington, N.H.
C.S. Nexus lays cable at a rate of approximately 1.5 kilometers
(.9 miles) per hour in shallow waters (less than 1,250 meters/4125
feet deep), where the cable must be buried, and 12 kilometers
(7.5 miles) per hour in deeper waters, where the cable is placed
on the surface of the ocean floor.
"We look forward to laying the FLAG cable over this historic
route to improve communications around the world," said C.S.
Nexus Captain G.W. Holmes.
Using the most advanced optical fiber technologies available,
the FLAG cable will provide high-bandwidth transmission capacity
to PTTs and international carriers. The cable system will use
326 state-of-the-art optical amplifiers to maintain the integrity
of the optical signals along its route.
It will dramatically improve communications in the regions it
serves, many of which depend largely on satellite transmissions.
Fiber optic transmission offers increased security, speed, accuracy
and reliability of transmission as well as increased bandwidth
capability for advanced applications.
NYNEX is the managing sponsor of FLAG. NYNEX provides a range
of communications and media services in the northeastern United
States and selected markets around the world. Other sponsors and
shareholders of the privately financed project are: the Dallah
Al Baraka Group of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a large multinational
investment company; Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan's leading
general trading companies; Gulf Associates Inc., a New York-based
corporation that focuses on trade and project development; Telecom
Holding Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of TelecomAsia, the
largest market-capitalized company on the stock exchange of Thailand;
The Asian Infrastructure Fund (AIF) of Hong Kong, a $1 billion
fund that invests in entities engaged in developing and operating
infrastructure projects in Asia; and GE Capital Services, a diversified
financial services company wholly owned by General Electric Company
and headquartered in Stamford, CT.
The cable system is being built by AT&T Submarine Systems,
Inc., and KDD Submarine Cable Systems of Japan. Cable & Wireless
Marine has been subcontracted to install more than two-thirds
of the system, including two of its longest segments stretching
from Palermo to Miura in Japan. Cable ships began clearing the
route in September 1995.
NYNEX is a global communications and media company that provides
a full range of services in the northeastern United States and
high-growth markets around the world, including the United Kingdom,
Thailand, Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland,
Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The Corporation is a leader in the telecommunications, wireless communications,
cable television, directory publishing
and entertainment and information services.
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