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The first fiber optic transatlantic cable system between London and New York is now entering the final stages of completion, Gemini Submarine Cable Ltd announced yesterday. Gemini, a 50-50 joint venture between Cable & Wireless Plc and WorldCom Inc (CI No 3,120), says it’s pushing to get the 30 gigabits per second link up and running by the end of January, although it will be officially ready for service by February. Gemini consists of a cable loop, divided in half as Gemini South and Gemini North. Gemini South, which was connected up in mid-Atlantic two weeks ago, runs from Manasuan, New Jersey, to Portcurno in Cornwall. Gemini North has landed in Oxwich Bay, Wales, and will connect to Charelstown, Rhode Island once completed. Gemini says it’s unique in integrating the land sections of the network as well as the submarine sections, resulting in a city-to-city service with in-system restoration and interconnection to other major cables. The four strand fiber optic cables will provide a Synchronous Digital Hierarchy loop network to the telecommunications industry, and Gemini anticipates that the traffic will be balanced between voice and data – although with demand for data traffic growing much faster than that of voice. Gemini will sell chunks of capacity in E3 (34Mbps) DS3 (45Mbps) or STM-1 (155Mbps) chunks, with a design point of 192 STM-1 units. That means it could in theory support around 600 Internet service providers running at DS3 rates. The Gemini system, which will have taken 18 months between initial construction and operation if the service begins on time, represents an investment of over $500m, says the company, which has offices in London and a network operations center in Manaquan, New Jersey.

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