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NEC, Google and friends enter FASTER trans-Pacific cable into service

Googlers having fun

A consortium of tech giants including Google and NEC has completed the construction and end-to-end testing of a new trans-Pacific submarine cable system.

The 9,000km FASTER Cable System enters into service today (30 June), and is claimed to be the first cable system designed from the outset to support digital coherent transmission technology, using optimized fibers throughout the submarine portion. The cable system lands in Oregon in the United States and two landing points in Japan, Chiba and Mie. The team claim the cable will be able to deliver 60 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth across the Pacific.

“From the very beginning of the project, we repeatedly said to each other, ‘faster, Faster and FASTER,’ and at one point it became the project name, and today it becomes a reality,” said Hiromitsu Todokoro, Chairman of the FASTER Management Committee. “This is the outcome of six members’ collaborative contribution and expertise together with NEC’s support.”

The consortium includes China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and Singtel, of which Google has been one of the most vocal. On the official blog, Google said the new cable will help the team launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo.

The new data centre in Tokyo is part of Google’s ambitions to dominate cloud computing and other enterprise service offerings. While it is generally considered to be ranked third in the public cloud stakes, with AWS and Microsoft Azure out ahead, it has been making strides in recent months. Alongside the Tokyo data centre launch, another was opened in Oregon, and there are plans for a further ten over the course of 2017.

Google has been investing in submarine cables since 2008, initially with the 7.68Tb trans-Pacific Unity cable, which came online in 2010. The completion of the project now takes the number of Google-owned undersea cables up to four, though there are likely to be more added in the coming years.

“Today, Google’s latest investment in long-haul undersea fibre optic cabling comes online: the FASTER Cable System gives Google access to up to 10Tbps (Terabits per second) of the cable’s total 60Tbps bandwidth between the US and Japan,” said Alan Chin-Lun Cheung, a Google Submarine Networking Infrastructure.

“We’ll use this capacity to support our users, including Google Apps and Cloud Platform customers. This is the highest-capacity undersea cable ever built — about ten million times faster than your average cable modem — and we’re beaming light through it starting today.”


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