updated 03:52 pm EDT, Wed August 22, 2012
Internet connection between countries seen as politically significant
Data has been sent over a pair of undersea fiber optic cables between China and Taiwan. Traffic between the two countries flowed through the cables for four minutes as part of a completion ceremony, with some commentators suggesting the first data connection between the two countries as having some political significance.
Taiwan stepped away from China in 1949 and is self-governed, although China believes it should be reunited with the rest of the country. Political relations between the two countries have improved after President Ma Ying-jeou, touting a policy of increased economic agreements with China, was elected by Taiwan in May 2008. Direct flights between the Taiwan and China without going via an intermediary country took place soon after, along with a number of other joint initiatives.
The cable was laid in a joint effort between China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, and Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan, at a total cost of 200 million Taiwanese dollars ($6.7 million). It isn't known how much bandwidth the connection is capable of trafficking, however a replacement for a severed undersea line that disrupted Internet access in Bangladesh is claimed to offer speeds of 100Gbps when completed in 2014, suggesting the China-Taiwan connection would be in a similar ballpark. [via BBC News]