Re: Crazy idea!

Dan Clemmensen (
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 08:12:38 -0500

Steve Clancy wrote:
> Methinks I have a crazy plan!
> How about this; an underground tunnel, approx 1m across, which
> would run from Melbourne, in Oz, under the seabed to California, housing
> optical fibre cables.
> The distance is about 12000km give or take.
> I guesstimated that tunnelling and optical fibre costs would be
> around US$2000 per metre. So that figures to be US$24G.
> I would be interested in any comments on the validity or costings
> of such a scheme.
> (I reckon' it could be part of a global neural net of super fast data links.)
> Thanks, Steve.

The technology for undersea cables is well developed and does not require tunnels. The current big cable-laying effort is called "Oxygen". They are laying huge amounts of fiber. The economics are such that it is now cheaper to use undersea fiber than on-land fiber in many places even when the land route is cheaper. Furthermore, over the last few years, there have been enormous increases in the bandwidth that a fiber can be made to support. The new fiber is passive: no repeaters on the sea floor, so the new technology can be applied to existing fiber by upgrading the on-land endpoints. currentgeneration UDWM gear gets more than 40Gbps per fiber. A cable has many fibers. I saw a recent report on a new scheme that can increase this by a factor of 100, which boggles the mind.