Google Builds Undersea Cable

Google today confirmed reports that it is building an undersea fiber optic cable that will link the U.S. and Japan for $300 million. (See Google's Building Unity Underseas.)

With today's announcement, it appears the Internet giant's appetite for infrastructure investments is growing. Google's infrastructure interests range from dark fiber to municipal WiFi to 700 MHz spectrum. (See Google's Balloon Dreams, 2007 Top Ten: Googly Moments, Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark , Google's Own Private Internet, Google Pledges $4.6B for Spectrum, Google Takes WiFi Plan to the 'Hood, and Google's Powerline Play.)

Now, Google has joined a six-company consortium to construct a transpacific 10,000-kilometer linear cable system, called Unity. Other consortium members include Global Transit, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), KDDI Corp. , Pacnet , and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY).

The Unity system will have the potential to add up to 7.68 Tbit/s of bandwidth across the Pacific. Initially, the new cable system will boost transpacific lit cable capacity by about 20 percent. The first capacity will be available in the first quarter of 2010.

For Google, the new cable will provide access to capacity at build-cost and allow the Internet company to peer directly with ISPs in Asia.

NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and Tyco Telecommunications were awarded the contracts to construct and install the system, and construction is scheduled to begin immediately.

The new cable will connect Chikura, which is off the Japanese coast near Tokyo, and Los Angeles, as well as other U.S. West Coast points of presence. Unity will also be connected to other Asian cable systems at Chikura.

According to TeleGeography Inc. 's 2007 Global Bandwidth Report, bandwidth demand across the Pacific has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.7 percent between 2002 and 2007. The research firm estimates that demand for capacity will roughly double every two years for the next five years.

The consortium claims that the Unity cable system will be able to offer more capacity at lower unit costs by having a high fiber count. The cable system will have five fiber pairs and can be expanded up to eight fiber pairs, with each fiber pair having a capacity of up to 960 Gbit/s.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:46:54 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable We are going full circle now, to where a service provider is paying for its own infrastructure. I wonder what limits GOOG will put on its fiber use.
lamdaswavelength 12/5/2012 | 3:46:53 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable let's go back to school:


IPnightly 12/5/2012 | 3:46:52 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable I thought there was already an over abundance of fiber. Not to mention DWDM. So what if it takes a couple of hops to get from one place to the next. Is this trans Pacific fiber really necessary?
Kreskin 12/5/2012 | 3:46:51 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable
Hey LR: why does Google get the headline? They are not contributing anything but money. They have zero fiber build experience by land or sea.

With most readers in America having ADD, they don't get past the headlines. Why not the headline: Consortium to install Oceanic Cable.

What is your love story with Google?
douaibei 12/5/2012 | 3:46:48 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable personally I do agree Google do not have any experience to roll out the fibre network, But in 2006/2007 Google did post several job for the dark fibre experts. not sure whether Google got the intelligence or not.

But Good do need a global fibre network to support it's business as the Google business model still base on the traffic volume. the more traffic via Google the more revenue.

Google can lease the fibre from telco, but for a bandwidth hungry business like Google, it will be a good idea to own they own Fibre.

DATACENTER is moving to decentralized architecture, High speed interconnection is more important than before..

Not sure why Google hit the headline, but this is a good news for google itself.

Kreskin 12/5/2012 | 3:46:35 PM
re: Google Builds Undersea Cable

Google can not rent dark fiber from the telco's because the ILECs do not have to sell it any more or make any new fiber builds available to competition.

Google hired dark fiber experts to buy dark fiber from independent, non-ILEC fiber owners and bankrupt companies which there are much less of since 2000 and the 2006 consolidation ... by my count less than 32 remain.

Plus, those that own unique fiber routes have little incentive to sell anyone fiber now that Wall Street is starting to figure out there is not fiber everywhere. Monthly recurring revenue bandwidth sales are now preferred.

The fiber market and prices has changed. Fiber owners are calling the shots. Level 3 will do dumb things for the cash, however.
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