Trans-Pacific cable speeds up dons' debate

December 15, 2000

A new submarine trans-Pacific cable network, capable of carrying 40 gigabits a second, will soon give Australian academics faster access to colleagues in North America.

The Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), formally opened last week, provides 120 times the capacity of the existing link to the United States. It has a one-way transmission delay of just 70 milliseconds.

George McLaughlin, executive director of the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet) said Australian academics will have faster access and be able to make larger downloads at less cost to their institutions.

AARNet operates the system that allows universities to connect to the internet. Mr McLaughlin said that by next April, when the second 40 gigabits a second on SCCN will be available, AARNet will launch its own services on the available SCCN optical fibre. "This will be for access to the advanced networks of North America (those of Internet2 and Canarie), the Asia Pacific Advanced Network and, through StarTap and New York, to other international research and education networks," Mr McLaughlin said.

US-based telecommunications solutions company WorldCom rolled out the SCCN in partnership with Telecom New Zealand and Optus, Australia's second largest telecommunications company, which AARNet uses.

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