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Proposes a simple automatic chromatic dispersion compensation system that can detect the zero-dispersion point of an installed fiber span. This technique realizes high sensitivity without requiring the system to be extensively modified. The alternating chirp signal, which is used as the zero-dispersion-detection signal, has alternating optical frequency shift. It can be generated simply by changing the input signals of multiplexer circuits and shifting the bias voltage of the LiNbO3 modulator. This technique is shown to detect the zero-dispersion point in the range of -600 to +600 ps/nm by using the signal modulated at 10 GHz; automatic dispersion compensation is successfully demonstrated in a 20-Gb/s, 400-km transmission experiment in our laboratory. Compensation is also demonstrated in 281-km-installed dispersion-shifted fiber using a 20-GHz alternating chirp signal.