HAMILTON, BERMUDA-- The FLAG (Fiberoptic Link Around the Globe) cable system has added China to its international undersea route under an agreement between FLAG Limited and the Chinese Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT) to land the cable system in Shanghai.
The new landing point in China's largest city will make FLAG the first intercontinental submarine telecommunications cable to serve China, the world's most populous nation.
With 1.2 billion people and about 20 million telephone lines, China has set a goal of having 70 million telephone lines in operation by the year 2000. The plan calls for building more than 11 million new lines each year for the next six years.
China currently relies primarily on satellite transmission and regional cable systems for communications with the rest of the world. The FLAG system will offer a direct, state-of-the-art fiber optic link with financial capitals in Europe, the Middle East and the rest of Asia.
Direct fiber optic cable transmission allows for increased security and accuracy as well as the high-bandwidth transmission of computer data and multi-media applications.
"We are very pleased to add China to FLAG's route," said Joseph Timpanaro, newly elected chairman and chief executive officer of FLAG Limited. "With an economy set to explode and the chance to leapfrog several technologies, China is planning to build a communications infrastructure that will serve its needs well into the future. Participation in FLAG will offer China the same kind of capability internationally."
The DGT said in a statement: "The DGT is responsible for operating and managing China's postal and telecommunications services, including construction and operation of the public telephone network provision of universal telephone service. The DGT's joining the FLAG system will greatly strengthen its telecommunications capability and help satisfy China's growing demand for advanced technology."
The DGT is currently involved in a number of international submarine cable initiatives to meet the ever increasing demand for telecommunications services. These include a fiber optic submarine cable linking China and Japan, which went into service in December 1993; a China-Korea cable, which will go into service at the end of this year; and cables to Europe and South Asia.
Upon completion, scheduled for 1997, the 27,000-kilometer (17,000-mile) FLAG cable - the world's longest - will connect three continents on a route linking business centers and high-growth regions between the United Kingdom and Japan. The cable system will be built by AT&T Submarine Systems Inc., and KDD Submarine Cable Systems of Japan.
The FLAG cable system will also land in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.
NYNEX is the managing sponsor of FLAG. NYNEX provides a full range of communications services in the northeastern United States and selected markets around the world. Other sponsors 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; and 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.
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.