Milestone-Proposal:TPC-1 System


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Docket #:2013-25

This proposal has been submitted for review.

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s fields of interest? (e.g. “the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences” – from the IEEE Constitution) Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an Electrical Engineering Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

The First Transpacific Cable System (TPC-1), 1964

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

The first transpacific undersea coaxial telephone cable linking Japan, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland was completed in 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda inaugurated this communications link on 19 June 1964. This joint project involving American Telephone and Telegraph, Hawaiian Telephone Company, and Kokusai Denshin Denwa improved global communication and contributed to deep water submarine cable technologies.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Tokyo and Hawaii Sections

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

Unit: IEEE Hawaii Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

Unit: IEEE Hawaii Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Tokyo Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

IEEE Section: IEEE Hawaii Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

[1] KDDI Corporation, Garden Air Tower, 3-10-10, Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-8460 JAPAN (coordinates: 35.700463, 139.750537)

[2] Hawaiian Telcom, 1177 Bishop Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822 U.S.A. (coordinates: 21.309688, -157.859081)

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need.

[1] The site in Japan is the corporate building of KDDI (the successor of Kokusai Denshin Denwa Co., Ltd., Japanese party of TPC-1 System).

[2] The site in Hawaii is the corporate building of Hawaiian Telcom (the successor of Hawaiian Telephone Company, Hawaiian party of TPC-1 System).

Are the original buildings extant?

[1] The original building of "Ninomiya Cable Landign Station" still exists, but is no longer used (as of January 2014), and will be removed in the near future. Therefore, the plaque is to be placed at the building of KDDI Headquarter.

[2] The original building in Hawaii no longer exists.

Details of the plaque mounting:

[1] The plaque is to be placed where the visitors can access.

[2] The plaque is to be placed where the visitors can access.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

[1] The plaque site is within KDDI Headquarter, and is under the propoer security control. The visitors can access with prior appointment to KDDI (International Network Department, +81 3 6678 0800).

[2] The plaque is within HT Headquarter, and is under the proper security control. The visitors can access at the normal business hour.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

[1] KDDI Corporation (KDDI)

[2] Hawaiian Telcom (HT)

A letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property:

File:TPC-1 IEEE OwnerLetters.pdf

A letter or email from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application:

File:TPC-1 IEEE SectionChairLetters.pdf

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The Transpacific Cable System No.1 “TPC-1” was the first submarine telephone cable connecting North America and Asia with a total length over 10,000km. TPC-1 became operational on 19th June 1964 with the congratulatory speeches of President Lyndon B. Johnson of U.S.A. and Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda of Japan noting the importance of the project for the U.S.A. and Japan. It has contributed to a closer relationship and to the mutual development in culture and economy between U.S.A. and Japan. It also triggered the rapid development of submarine telephone cable networks in Eastern Asia, providing large communications capacity between Eastern Asia and U.S.A./Europe. TPC-1 was a US$83Million project, which was jointly constructed by AT&T, HTC and KDD, by applying the state of the art technology (“SD” type cable system design), developed by Bell Laboratories of AT&T, following previous SA & SB designs. A newly established Japanese company, Ocean Cable Company (OCC), also manufactured some portions of the submarine cable under AT&T’s supervision. TPC-1 was composed of three cable networks; 1) TPC-1 connecting Japan with Hawaii via Guam, Midway and Wake, 2) HAW-1 and HAW-2 connecting Hawaii and the mainland U.S.A. and 3) Guam-Philippines Cable, a branch of TPC-1. TPC-1 was also cross connected at Hawaii with COMPAC, the British Commonwealth cable linking Canada, New Zealand and Australia. TPC-1 and COMPAC formed the Pan Pacific coaxial submarine cable network. TPC-1 began operation in June, 1964, and was followed by joining of Guam-Philippines Cable in December, 1964. Since then, TPC-1 was in operation more than a quarter century, and will achieve its 50 year anniversary in 2014. The quality of telephone circuits of the longest multi links through TPC-1, land cables on the North American Continent and submarine cables in Atlantic Ocean was proven to satisfy the CCITT voice quality recommendations the very first time. The technology developed in the SD type cable covers the implementation of cables undersea. This included machinery on board a cable ship and methodologies of cable laying and repairing, which became the standard going forward. The technology developed in TPC-1 continues to be the foundation for the construction and maintenance in current fiber optic submarine cables used for international telecommunication today.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

Extremely high reliability was necessary for the repeaters due to the vacuum electron tubes contained inside, which amplify the transmission signal in tandem. The requirement of high reliability was achieved by means of the quality control developed by Bell Laboratories and proven by the system’s longevity. The quality control methodology used in SD type cable systems was succeeded by the fiber optic submarine cable systems in service today. In addition, it was necessary for TPC-1 to cross the Mariana trench and to be deployed on the complicated features of the sea floor. Ocean floor geologists from U.S.A. and Japan jointly examined the hydrographic survey data obtained by Japanese Oceanography Service and determined a safe and stable cable route in the region. This knowledge established through coordination between the academic field and the business field contributed to the planning of future trans-ocean submarine cable projects.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

In order to satisfy the need for stable telephone communication between Eastern Asia and the U.S.A./Europe, establishing a new world order after the second world war, the U.S.A. and Japan agreed to construct TPC-1 as a national project for both countries and, AT&T, HTC and KDD signed the "TPC-1 Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA)" in February 1962. TPC-1 improved the voice communication between Asia and the U.S.A./Europe from the previous media, interruptible and unstable "short wave radio". After the completion of the construction, the telephone traffic through TPC-1 grew more than 50 percent every year, which demonstrated the significant contribution and importance of TPC-1 to the social and economic activities between Asia and the U.S.A./Europe. The telecommunication development in quality and quantity introduced by TPC-1, together with the development in transportation, drastically enhanced the inter-continents activities in community exchange and import/export. This increase showed the potential growth in telecommunication traffic between Eastern Asia and the U.S.A./Europe, which accelerated the construction of submarine cable networks in East Asia and South East Asia (such as JASC, China-Japan, Korea-Japan, Taiwan-Okinawa, OLUHO, ASEAN cables with the total lengths more than 10,000km), and subsequently contributed to the harmony between Eastern Asia and the U.S.A./Europe. The significant part of the SD cable, manufactured by OCC, and some telecommunication equipment, such as channel banks, echo suppressors, international telephone exchange switches for TPC-1, were developed and manufactured in Japan under the co-supervision of AT&T and KDD. AT&T, HTC and KDD’s enhanced coordination and collaboration in implementing TPC-1, lead to the successful achievement of TPC-1 and subsequent future cable systems active today.

References to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article.

(1)Article on Japan Times (June 20, 1964) [attached]. (2)Article on New York Times (June 19, 1964) [attached]. (3)Article on Japan Times (February 16, 1962) [attached]. (4)TPC-1 Construction & Maintenance Agreement [attached]. (5)"The SD Submarine Cable System", Bell System Technical Journal, July 1964. (6) "A Cable Laying Facility", Bell System Technical Journal, July1964.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

(7)TPC-1 Movie in Japanese (English version is availabel by DVD). (8)"The Deep Sea Cables", Western Electric, 1963 [attached].

TPC-1 JapanTimes(19640620).pdf
(2) TPC-1 NewYorkTimes(19640619).pdf
(3) TPC-1 JapanTimes(19620216).pdf
(4) TPC-1 C&MA(19620214).pdf