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Google-backed undersea cable between US and Japan goes online tonight

TechCrunch TechCrunch 29/06/2016 Frederic Lardinois

Google started making investments in a number of undersea cables back in 2008, but one of its largest investments was the $300 million it invested in the FASTER cable between Japan and the U.S. West Coast. Back in 2014, Google announced that it was joining a consortium of six companies, including NEC, China Mobile, China Telecom, Global Transit and KDDI, to better connect the two countries. As the company announced today, this cable is going online tonight.

The 9,000km six-fiber pair cable can deliver up to 60 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth — or as Google’s SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Holzle puts it, that’s “about 10 million times faster than your cable modem.”

The cable will give Google dedicated access to 10Tbps per second over its own pair of cables that will connect Chikura and Shima in Japan to Bandon, Oregon (putting it relatively close to the company’s The Dalles data center in the state).

It’s worth noting that Google also plans to launch its Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo later this year and the company notes that having this dedicated bandwidth for its operations will result “in faster data transfers and reduced latency as GCP customers deliver their applications and information to customers around the globe.”

While the focus of Google’s announcement is mostly on the connection between the U.S. and Japan, it’s worth noting that the FASTER network will also connect Japan and Taiwan over two fiber pairs that will offer an initial capacity of 20 Tbps. This extension between Taiwan and the two landing sites in Japan is 100 percent owned by Google (through its wholly-owned Google Cable Bermuda subsidiary).

Google continues to make other undersea cable investments, too. To better connect the U.S. East Coast and Europe, for example, the company recently announced a partnership with Facebook to build the fastest trans-Atlantic undersea cable yet, with a capacity of 160Tbps.

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