A group of phone companies has begun constructing the first undersea telecommunications cable directly linking China with the United States, a news report said Tuesday.
The fiber-optic cable will go into operation next July ahead of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government's Xinhua News Agency said.
The project, dubbed the Trans-Pacific Express, comes amid explosive growth in telephone and Internet traffic between China and the United States. Its developers say it will have 60 times the capacity of current cable connections between the two countries.
Current US-Chinese cable links run through Japan, but Beijing sees Tokyo as a regional rival and has long wanted an independent connection to the United States.