In what China claims to be a huge breakthrough in Internet technology, it has launched a 3,000-kilometre backbone network running from Beijing to the south. The network claims to clock at a massive “stable and reliable” speed of 1.2 terabytes per second.
To put it in perspective, this speed is enough to transfer 150 movies worth of data within a single second.
This infrastructure has been made possible through a partnership between Huawei and China Mobile in association with Tsinghua University and Cernet.com Corporation.
Wu Jianping, a professor at Tsinghua University involved in the project, claims that the technology is entirely designed and controlled by China, including both the hardware and software components.
The backbone network trials began on 31st July this year, and things have progressed rapidly over the past six months. Although this innovation has no implication on home network speeds as of now, faster internet can have huge applications for businesses and stock trading.
China’s Progress Is A Problem For The US
It is not just a mere coincidence that this launch overlaps the meeting between Biden, the US President, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, on 22nd November 2023. Jinping eyes this backbone network to help China become a new cyber power.
It will also mount pressure on Biden to take action to curb China’s growth and to “do enough” to ensure China doesn’t win the virtual cyber race.
Huawei launched its Mate 60 Pro powered by made-in-China 5G chips around the time US diplomats were visiting China. This raised fears among US diplomats of China having found a way around US export control by producing 5G chips.
However, Gina Raimondo, US Commerce Secretary, assured that there was no evidence that China could mass produce such chips.
In 2019, the US added Huawei to its “entity list”, which restricted exports to the entity without a government license. This decision hit Huawei badly as it slipped from the list of top 5 phone manufacturers in China.
This was also a reason why its Mate 60 Pro caused panic among US government officials.
And now, the launch of the backbone network is expected to draw similar reactions from the US, especially when the two Presidents are set to meet after months of tension between the two nations. It will be interesting to see how the US responds and how will the backbone technology fare in the coming months.