Move over Google! From the status of an online search engine status to free Android OS provider to building trans-Pacific cable system to Japan is what Google aims at now and has announced that it has joined FASTER, the cable system, worth $300 million.
The five other companies, which have joined together to build a mammoth trans-Pacific cable system connecting the west coast of the U.S. to the cities of Chikura and Shima in Japan include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel. NEC, the vendor of submarine cable systems with over 200,000-km of cables, is the system supplier for the project.
FASTER is expected to meet the increasing traffic demands for broadband and mobile content on the trans-Pacific route, with a design that is 6-fiber-pair cable with optical transmission technologies and featuring an initial capacity of 60Tb/s, which is roughly about ten million times faster than the ordinary cable modem.
“At Google we want our products to be fast and reliable, and that requires a great network infrastructure, whether it’s for the more than a billion Android users or developers building products on Google Cloud Platform. And sometimes the fastest path requires going through an ocean,” said Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure and Google Fellow, Urs Hölzle.
Industry-watcher Builtvisible says that there are about 200 fiber optic cables in the undersea network around the world carrying more than 95% of the transoceanic voice and data traffic. In 2013, the underwater cables carried 51 billion gigabytes per month. This figure is estimated to touch 132 billion gigabytes by 2017.
Google’s move is seen as a natural course to invest in Internet-related core-sector growth areas. It had invested in the UNITY and SJC (South-East Asia Japan Cable) submarine cables in 2008 and 2011, respectively. UNITY is a 3.3Tb/s cable that connects the U.S. to Japan and the SJC is a $400 million cable system with 28Tb/s, connecting seven countries in Asia.
FASTER, supposed to be ready by 2016, will connect to hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington in the US.
Even Facebook has invested in the Asia Pacific Gateway, worth $450 million, running between Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China. Its designed capacity is 54.8 Tb/s and its partners are mostly Asian firms — China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corp, LG Uplus, NTT Communications, StarHub, Time dotCom, Viettel and Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT).