Google helps fund $300M cable to connect U.S. and Japan

Cable system, called FASTER, will help bring higher speed Internet to Asia

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 11, 2014
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With Fiber, Google has been on a mission to, finally, get this country the high-speed Internet is deserves. Let's not forget, though, that Google is a global company, one with customers in many countries which have just as much of a need for faster Internet as we do.

The next country that Google is focusing on: Japan.

The company announced on Monday that it is partnering with five other companiesto build a new Trans-Pacific cable system that will cross the Pacific Ocean. The cable system, which will be known as FASTER, will feature a 6-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60Tb/s.

It will go from four  hubs on the west coast, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, to Chikura and Shima in Japan. From there, it will connect to "many neighboring cable systems to extend the capacity beyond Japan to other Asian locations."

The other five partners in the consortium are China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel. In all, the fiber system will cost $300 million.

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," Urs Hölzle is Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, wrote in a Google+ post on Monday. 

That’s why we’re investing in FASTER, a new undersea cable that will connect major West Coast cities in the US to two coastal locations in Japan with a design capacity of 60 Tbps (that's about ten million times faster than your cable modem). Along with our previous investments - UNITY in 2008 and SJC (South-East Asia Japan Cable) in 2011, FASTER will make the internet, well, faster and more reliable for our users in Asia."

The cable is expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2016.

Google Fiber

Google has been attempting to bring high speed Internet to the United States for years now with Google Fiber, it high-speed Internet and television service.

Even has been around since 2011, the rollout has been very slow, and only four cities in the entire country currently have it: Kansas City, Provo, Stanford and Austin, which is getting it this year.

In February, Google revealed that it had 34 more cities in mind for possible  expansion, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and San Jose.

Google will also have competition in the form of AT&T's fiber-optic Internet service, called Gigapower. The service was originally launched in Austin last December, and it plans to expand to Dallas, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem as well.

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