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U.S.-China Cable Link Deal Signed

December 11, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. and foreign telecommunications companies signed agreements Thursday to build the first undersea cable directly linking China and the United States, expected to be in service by 2000.

The $1.1 billion cable’s capacity of 88 gigabits a second can carry 4 million telephone calls at the same time. And its 967,680 circuits make it one of the largest telecommunications networks ever constructed, companies involved in the project said in a statement.

They are AT&T Corp.; China Telecom; Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom; Hongkong Telecom; Kokusai Denshin Denwa of Japan; Korea Telecom; MCI Communications Corp.; Japan’s NTT Worldwide Network Corp.; SBC Communications, a regional Bell telephone company; Singapore Telecom; Sprint Corp.; Teleglobe USA; Telekom Malaysia; and Telstra Corp. of Australia.

The companies said the new link, which will stretch 16,000 miles, will be critical to telecommunications providers on both sides of the Pacific in meeting communications demands of the Pacific Rim.

Presently, cables route calls and other telecommunications traffic between the United States and China via other countries. With the new cable, traffic can be routed directly between them.

The companies signed a construction and maintenance agreement to build the cable in a Washington ceremony Thursday with Wu Jichuan, China’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. The agreement follows a memorandum of understanding signed in March in Beijing.

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