The Unity trans-Pacific cable took another step toward completion today. The cable ship KDDI Pacific Link has brought the Japanese leg ashore at Chikura. The full system, slated at 4.8Tbps and costing some $300M to build, is still scheduled to be ready for traffic in the first quarter of 2010 - that's just a few months away! As recently as last year there were rumbles that this cable wouldn't get all the way off the ground, but here we are nevertheless.
Regional operator Pacnet is eagerly awaiting the cable's completion, as they will be operating 2 of the 5 fiber pairs under the name EAC Pacific. The new cable will finally give them their own transpacific route, something they have continued to need since losing the bidding war for Pacific Crossing to NTT (the transaction finally closed just last week). No doubt they are also itching to have all that deployed capital generating cash as soon as possible.
With TPE and Unity both in place next year, it should be interesting to see what happens to transpacific bandwidth pricing. The industry itself is probably hoping nothing at all happens, i.e. that demand quickly surges in to take up the slack. As for me, being based in China for part of each year, I'm sort of hoping to see somewhat lower prices that will give me access to bigger, more reliable pipes. Not that I want a price war, but still.
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