Google has teamed up with five Asian telecom firms to build a $300mn underwater cable across the Pacific Ocean to cater for rising internet use in both the US and across Asia.
The project, named FASTER, will see the 9,000-kilometre fibre-optic cable stretch from two points in Japan to the US, with extensions to other Asian locations later on.
While there are already hundreds of underwater telecom cables connecting various points in the world, “the FASTER cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the Trans-Pacific route.
The telecom firms involved in the project are Japanese mobile carrier KDDI, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Malaysia’s Global Transit, and Singapore’s SingTel, the statement said.
Japan’s NEC would build the system, which is expected to come into service in the first half of 2016, the firms said.
In the US, the cable would be extended to link major cities on the west coast including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
Google has been involved in similar projects before, including a 2008 deal to build an ultra-high-speed submarine cable to carry Internet and other traffic between Japan and the United States.
Chairman of the Faster executive committee Woohyong Choi said that the cable will benefit internet users across the globe.
“The consortium partners are glad to work together to add a new cable to our global infrastructure. The Faster cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the Trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world.
“The agreement announced today will benefit all users of the global internet.”
Naoki Yoshida, general manager of NEC’s Submarine Network Division, added, “NEC Corporation is proud to be the system supplier for the Faster cable system, a state-of-the-art long haul system that will provide additional connectivity and capacity between regions of the world that increasingly require more bandwidth.
“Backed by more than 30 years of experience in constructing over 200,000 kilometers of cables, NEC is one of the world’s top vendors of submarine cable systems.”
Construction of Faster will begin immediately and the system is expected to be ready for service during the second quarter of 2016.