8 Jun 2009

North Pacific to get major fibre optic cable

8:28 am on 8 June 2009

Construction is set to begin of a 3,200 kilometre submarine fibre optic cable, that is expected to revolutionise communications in the north Pacific.

This follows an agreement that involves the U.S. Army and telecommunications companies of the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia, with cable contracts are worth more than 130 million US dollars.

Tyco Telecommunications will begin laying the cable in November, working from the Marshall Islands to Guam.

U.S. Army Lieutenant General Kevin Campbell, who commands the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, says the fibre optic cable is the critical enabler to transform the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll to meet the changing space and missile defence needs of the US.

He says currently, all communications into and out ofthe Kwajalein Army base are satellite based, resulting in bandwidth limitations and time lags.

Lt General Campbell says with the fibre cable, Kwajalein will have access to almost limitless high-speed, immediate communications ability.

Majuro's leaders see numerous opportunities developing, including health officials, who say they will be able to use broadband access to improve diagnosis and treatment of patients through real time consultations with specialist doctors in the U.S. and elsewhere.