ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 2 -- General Communication Inc. (GCI) announced it is building a $50 million fiber optic cable connecting Seward, Alaska and Warrenton, Oregon. The 1544-statute-mile cable has a total design capacity of 640 Gb/s access speed and is planned to be in operation by May 2004. The cable will complement GCI's existing fiber optic cable between Whittier, Alaska and Seattle, Washington. The two cables will provide physically diverse instant backup to each other in the event of an outage.
A consortium of companies -- NEC Corp. (NEC), OCC Corp. (OCC) and Global Marine Systems Ltd. (GMSL), headed by Sumitomo Corp. -- will design, engineer, manufacture and install the undersea cable system. NEC will engineer, manufacture and integrate the system, OCC will produce the undersea cable and GMSL will install the system in the complex marine environment.
The new cable will be configured in a SONET ring with the current system, which provides alternative routing and overflow traffic-handling capabilities. A subsea survey of the route was completed in October 2002. Manufacturing of the cable, landing stations and equipment will begin immediately, and cable deployment is expected to begin in January 2004.
The system will deliver a minimum of 258,048 simultaneous clear channel voice or data circuits at transmission speeds of 20 billion bits per second. As demand increases, capacity can be increased to support a minimum of 8,257,536 simultaneous clear channel voice or data circuits at 640 billion bits per second.
"In combination with GCI's Alaska United cable, this new fiber optic cable will provide unprecedented reliability for business, education and government users," said Richard Dowling, GCI senior vice president, corporate development. "The project underscores GCI's commitment to Alaska and our continued investment in its future."
GCI expects to finance the construction of the fiber cable out of its free cash flow with assistance from a senior credit facility provided by a syndication of financial institutions led by Credit Lyonnais, New York.
For more information, visit: www.gci.com