Google continues to invest in transcontinental cables


What started out as a Web search company now has its hands in almost anything high-tech. Cloud software, Android, Google Glass, self-driving cars, Google Fiber Gigabit broadband, balloon-powered Internet, robotics (it acquired Boston Dynamics), smart homes (Nest acquisition), …

And now it will join a global consortium to build and operate a new trans-Pacific cable costing $300 million.

According to an NEC press release:

In order to address the intense traffic demands for broadband, mobile, applications, content and enterprise data exchange on the Trans-Pacific route, FASTER will feature the latest high-quality 6-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60Tb/s (100Gb/s x 100 wavelengths x 6 fiber-pairs).

This new cable system will be landed at Chikura and Shima in Japan and will feature seamless connectivity to many neighboring cable systems to extend the capacity beyond Japan to other Asian locations. Connections in the United States will extend the system to major hubs on the US West Coast covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas.

 The six-company consortium is comprised of China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and SingTel. The name FASTER was adopted to represent the cable system’s purpose of rapidly serving surging traffic demands.

Traditionally it’s always been the telecom giants laying and operating these undersea cables because they were the ones with the capital and the ones to benefit most from the network expansions. With the surge (takeover?) of VoIP usage the lines have blurred between telecom and Web. A relatively young Internet company like Google is now a threat to the likes of AT&T and Verizon.

This isn’t the first time Google has poured money into such an endeavor: previously it has also invested in Unity and Southeast Asia Japan Cable (SJC).

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