CONNECTING AMERICAS

Company announces plans to install trans-ocean cable between California, Panama

Global Crossing Ltd., which specializes in laying trans-ocean fiber-optic cables, has announced plans to install a submarine link connecting California with Panama, with landing stations in Mexico and other points in Central America.

The company, responding to the exploding need for voice, video and data transmission between the U.S., South America, Europe and the Far East, has also secured several support and maintenance agreements for a trans-Atlantic cable known as AC-1, which is being built by Tyco Submarine System Ltd.

The AC-1 cable, to be operated by Deutsche Telekom, one of Europe’s leading telecommunications company, will enhance Telekom’s voice, high-speed data and multimedia connections between Europe and the U.S.

“To succeed in today’s marketplace, a business has to have global reach,” said David Lee, president of Global Telesystems Ltd., an arm of Global Crossing. “AC-1 provides telecommunications carriers with that reach and the ability to offer global communications reach to their customers.”

The AC-1 cable will connect the U.S. to the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany. Service is scheduled to begin in May 1998.

Once it opens in 1999, the California-Panama link, named PAC-1, will create the first direct connection for voice, video and data transmissions between South American countries and Asian nations of the Pacific Rim.

Currently, South American transmissions must cross the United States through terrestrial communications networks and pay a transit fee to U.S. carriers to connect to fiber-optic cables reaching the Pacific Rim. PAC-1 will span 5,000 miles and connect California, Mexico and Panama to other cables in the rest of South America.

Global Crossing, which is capitalized by a group of investors headed by California-based Pacific Capital Group Inc., announced a third undersea cable venture, this one connecting New York, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Florida. The system, a joint venture with Telebermuda Intl. Ltd., will be linked to AC-1 and should be running in the first half of 1999, the company said.

The fourth cable operation planned by Global Crossing is a joint venture with Japanese trading firm Marubeni and will cross the Pacific, linking the U.S. with Japan.

The cable, to be known as PC-1, “is key to our goal of providing a worldwide network of state-of-the-art fiber-optic connectivity for our customers,” said Gary Winnick, co-chair of Global Crossing.

“Trans-Pacific telecommunications traffic has increased tremendously over the last few years, fueled by Internet and other high bandwidth data applications,” Winnick said. “The existing major telecommunications carriers, as well as the new emerging carriers, will need connectivity to the rest of the world.”

The PC-1 cable is set to begin operating in 1999.

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