One of Hong Kong's biggest networking projects is being developed at Chek Lap Kok airport. Due to open next year, the massive system will service 288 check-in counters, 244 immigration desks, 60,000 telephone lines and 2,000 screens displaying flight information. Hughes Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) has the $331 million contract to integrate the information and communications systems for the airport's passenger terminal. It subcontracted parts of the project to companies, including Electronic Data Systems, Philips, Siemens, Ferranti, and ICL Enterprises. ICL's Workplace Technologies was subcontracted for the structured cabling system which will link the local area network backbone in the passenger terminal building. Structured cabling is a centralised wiring system providing the infrastructure for voice, video and data traffic. Workplace teamed with German-based network equipment maker Krone Communications to build the structured cabling system. They are installing and connecting thousands of cables that will support services that include flight information screens, check-in counters, immigration desks, and the closed-circuit video surveillance system. Krone marketing and product development manager Martin Breisser said the cabling provided a 'universal platform' compatible with all hardware, regardless of vendor, and was 'open architecture' enabling the transmission of voice, Internet and data. The cabling is of Category 5 standard, supporting transmissions of 100-megahertz bandwidth at speeds of 100 megabits per second (mbps) and higher. More than 1,300 kilometres of fibre-optic and copper cables will be used. Mr Breisser said the cabling would last for 30 years and be able to support future data speed standards of more than 300 mbps. Its adaptability to future standards was crucial to avoid the need to 'tear the airport apart' when equipment and network infrastructure was modified, he said. Although Lucent Technologies had been contracted to cable Cathay Pacific's headquarters, Mr Breisser said the airline's network could be connected to the backbone, thanks to the universal platform. Krone - which established its Hong Kong office in 1984 and has an annual worldwide turnover of about 700 million deutschemarks (about HK$2.98 billion) - is not a well-known name, although its cabling projects in Hong Kong include Chinese University and Hong Kong University.