Sunday, February 24, 2008

Google Joins Global Consortium Planning New Pacific Cable System

A consortium of six international companies, including Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, Google, KDDI Corporation, Pacnet and SingTel, have executed agreements to build a high--bandwidth subsea fiber optic cable linking the United States and Japan.

Construction of the new Trans--Pacific cable system -- dubbed "Unity" -- will cost an estimated US$300 million. Unity is expected to initially increase Trans--Pacific lit cable capacity by about 20 percent, with the potential to add up to 7.68 Tbps of bandwidth across the Pacific. The new five fiber pair cable system can be expanded up to eight fiber pairs, with each fiber pair capable of carrying up to 960 Gbps.

The Unity consortium selected NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications to construct and install the system during a signing ceremony held in Tokyo on February 23, 2008. Construction will begin immediately, with initial capacity targeted to be available in the first quarter of 2010.

"While Google is the first non-telecom company to take an active role in ownership of a submarine cable, it's not likely that this is the beginning of a new trend," commented TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin. "Although many non-telecom companies have high bandwidth requirements, few will venture into owning submarine cables anytime soon."