Work has begun on a undersea fiber-optic cable linking China and the US, state media reported. Construction of the main body of the US$500 million cable began in the coastal city of Qingdao. The cable, known as the Trans-Pacific Express, will be used to pipe data over the internet in the event of a disruption caused by an earthquake near Taiwan. The project is scheduled for completion in July. A consortium of six telecom firms – China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom, Korea Telecom and American firm Verizon – are investing in the cable. Last December, an earthquake off Taiwan's coast cut undersea data cables there, causing telephone and internet access disruptions. The new cable, measuring 26,000 km, will be laid away from the Taiwan earthquake zone. It will have landing points in Oregon in the US, Qingdao and Chongming in China, Tanshui in Taiwan and Keoje in Korea.