New Underwater Data Cable Connects Four Countries

September 26, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

 1. transmit (v.) 
[trans-mit, tranz-] – to send information
Example: The computer transmits data at a very high speed.

2. millisecond (n.) [mil-uh-sek-uhnd] – one thousandth (1/1000) of a second
Example: Optical fiber systems transfer data in just milliseconds. 

3. make or break (idiom.) [meyk or breyk] – can result to either success or failure
Example: The newest investment plan will make or break the company’s future. 

4. path (n.) [path, pahth] – a way or route where something passes through
Example The telephone lines follow a straight path for clearer connection. 

5. lay out (phrasal v.) [ley out] – to set up, arrange or to put down
Example Electricians lay out the wires for the house’s Internet connection.

Read the text below.

Several telecommunications companies—Japan’s NTT, the Philippines’ PLDT, Singapore’s StarHub and Telecom Malaysia—have worked together to build the Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), the fastest data cable in the continent.

The 7,800-km ASE, located under the sea, can transmit data at 40 gigabits per second (40Gbps). This speed is as fast as downloading an HD movie in only two seconds.

ASE is three milliseconds faster than other connections that link Tokyo and Singapore. With this speed, thousands of computer-based business deals can be done very quickly.

Through the new cable, banks and financial groups would be able to respond faster to changes in the market. Many financial decisions nowadays are done through computer programs. Ralph Silva of Silva Research Network says that transmitting data just a millisecond faster than others can really make or break a group’s investment.

Engineers also made sure the ASE’s path is straight enough to lessen data transmission time to 65 milliseconds.

Hiroyuki Matsumoto, senior director of network services at NTT, says they also planned for natural disasters before laying out the cables.  Many underwater cables were damaged by earthquakes in Japan in 2011 and earthquakes in Taiwan in 2006. Telecom companies had to send remote-controlled robots 2,500 meters under the sea to fix these connections.

Matsumoto said they avoided placing the cable near the Taiwan area, where earthquakes happen more often and placed ASE near the Philippines instead, where it would be safer from damage.

The company PLDT announced that the ASE is the largest undersea cable system in the country. It is also the first cable directly connecting Japan and the Philippines.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A 

·         How do you think ASE will affect the relationships between the four countries that worked on the project?
·         ASE is useful for banks and businesses. How can the new connection also be helpful to regular consumers?

Discussion B

·         Why is it good for different countries to work together on a common project?
·         If you were to work with people from other countries, what kind of project would you like to do with them? Why that?

September 26, 2012