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Indonesia plans cable link to help fill satellite void

Indonesia plans to lay submarine cables to link some of its many islands following the space shuttle Challenger's failure to deploy one of its new communication satellites, the tourism and telecommunications minister, Ahmad Tahir, said Thursday.

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The submarine cable plan was to augment the existing microwave and high-frequency radio communication links connecting all but the eastern part of Indonesia. Mr. Tahir did not say when the cables would be laid out, nor where or at what cost.

He assured Indonesians that the first-generation Palapa communication satellites, launched more than seven years ago, would still be operable for the next six to 15 months.

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