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Aussie telecoms company, Telstra, has pledged that the 37,000 km cable linking 33 countries in South East Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe will be ready in time for Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Speaking at the Perth landing of the cable, Telstra's network boss Lawrence Paratz said the $0.3 billion investment was vital for meeting the "explosive customer demand for Internet and interactive services." Once operational at the end of the year, each pair of fibres of the two-pair optical fibre system will be able to transmit up to 20 Gigabits of data. In other words, it will be able to carry a total of 50,000 simultaneous phone calls, or 1,000 broadcast quality TV channels, or one million pages of email per second. Its first major test will be to meet the global demand for 24-hour digital TV coverage for the 2000 Olympics. ®

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