Adverse weather conditions frustrated France Telecom, Mercury Communications Ltd, and British Telecommunications Plc in the laying of UK-France 3, the first optical fibre submarine cable system linking the UK and France. British Telecom Marine Systems was scheduled to bring the line ashore on February 5, but unfriendly winds, swell and tides delayed the operation; it was due to try again over the weekend. France Telecom has a 50% shareholding in the line, with the remaining 50% being shared by the two UK companies. UK-France 3 is a six fibre pair cable system operating at 140Mbps per fibre pair; three fibre pairs each will be used by Mercury and British Telecom, carrying the equivalent of 11,000 telephone conversations. The new cable, which will also be leased by a number of other European public telephone operators, is the first cable to continental Europe in which Mercury holds part ownership. It stretches 93 miles from Dieppe on the French coast across to Brighton in Sussex.