Google is spending $1B on new US-Japan subsea cables


Google has announced that it’s spending $1 billion on new subsea cable systems to boost internet connectivity between the US and Japan.

The tech giant said the initiative, called the Pacific Connect, includes the development of two new undersea fibre-optic cables: Proa and Taihei.

Google is partnering with several telecoms companies – including KDDI, ARTERIA, Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – on the project.

Tatsuya Abe, President and CEO at ARTERIA, said: “Connectivity between Tokyo — the heart of the Internet in Japan — and overseas has been concentrated in Minami-boso, Chiba Prefecture. The Ibaraki region, including Takahagi, had not had any submarine cable landings for over 20 years until the arrival of Topaz, which ARTERIA has supported.

“Leveraging the landing facilities for the Topaz project, we are delighted to partner further with Google for this visionary initiative, which will contribute to strengthening Japan’s digital infrastructure.”

The Proa cable will connect Japan, CNMI, and Guam. It will be the first international subsea cables for CNMI, establishing a new route between the continental US and Shima, Japan.

Arnold I. Palacios, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, commented: “The name ‘Proa’, drawing inspiration from our traditional sailing canoes, encapsulates the essence of connectivity and cultural heritage. It signifies the collaborative journey this project embodies, reflecting resilience and progress as we collectively move towards a future brimming with opportunities and prosperity for our islands.

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to Google for their steadfast dedication to including the CNMI in the Pacific Connect Initiative, perfectly aligning with our vision for a more connected, resilient, and technologically advanced Pacific region.”

The cable system Taiwan-Philippines-US (TPU) will also be extended to CNMI to increase reliability in the region.

Taihei, meaning “peace” and “Pacific Ocean” in Japanese, is another cable that will link Japan to Hawaii. Google’s existing Tabua cable will also be extended from the continental US to Hawaii, creating a diverse data path between the mainland and Takahagi, Japan.

An interlink cable connecting Hawaii, CNMI, and Guam will further improve reliability and reduce latency for Pacific island nations.

Sylvia Luke, Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii, said: Hawaii’s Connect Kakou initiative is working to ensure people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed Internet.

“The Pacific Connect initiative perfectly complements our planned efforts, and will significantly enhance our future connections from Hawaii to the continental US and Japan as well as ensure communities across the Pacific have equitable and reliable access to digital services.”

Other government officials praised the project for boosting connectivity and economic opportunities in the region. CNMI Governor Arnold Palacios said the Proa name “encapsulates the essence of connectivity and cultural heritage.”

According to Google, its previous network investments in Japan drove over $400 million in GDP growth in the last decade. The new cables aim to further bridge the digital divide and unlock digital services across the Pacific.

Google’s announcement follows a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio which led to the unveiling of a raft of new AI, quantum computing, semiconductors, and other critical technology initiatives.

See also: US ISPs must display broadband ‘nutrition’ labels from today

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Tags: hawaii, infrastructure, japan, Networks, pacific connect, subsea, telecoms, usa

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