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Google’s FASTER cable network connecting US and Japan goes online

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Another of Google’s massive cable building efforts will be materializing tonight, as its FASTER undersea cable, that will connect the US and Japan, goes online. The cable will connect Chikura and Shima in Japan to Bandon, Oregon in the United States.

Google first began laying undersea cables in 2008 and in fact, was one of the first major data driven corporation to establish its own undersea routes. It later joined the consortium of six companies —  including NEC, China Mobile, China Telecom, Global Transit and KDDI — in 2014, so as to further its plans of better connecting the Asian/American countries.

The FASTER cable is a 9,000 Km long undersea cable which consists of the latest high-quality 6-fiber-pair cable and 100Gb/s x 100 wavelengths optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60Tb/s.

And in case you are wondering, the FASTER cable is fast, very fast indeed. To put things in perspective, 60 Tb/s is almost 10 million times faster than your average cable modem. However, Google has absurdly,ridiculously larger amount of data to transfer as well, so as you see,it needs the capabilities.

The cable cost Google almost $300 million to build. However, now it will have access to 60 terabytes of dedicated transfer speeds per second. The added capabilities will be useful in faster data transfers and reduced latency and will enable GCP customers to deliver their applications and information to customers around the globe.

Speaking on the occasion of the completion of the cable, Mr Hiromitsu Todokoro, Chairman of the FASTER Management Committee said,

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. This is the outcome of six members’ collaborative contribution and expertise together with NEC’s support.

Speaking on the advantages that will be brought by the cable, Mr Ooi Seng Keat, Vice President, Carrier Services of Singtel Group Enterprise said,

The completion of the FASTER cable system will provide capacity to support the expected four-fold increase in broadband traffic demand between Asia and North America. By adding network redundancy and ultra-low latency to our existing trans-Pacific cable systems, it reinforces our leadership in international data services in the region and enhances our infrastructure to support our customers’ critical data traffic.

And Google is not stopping either. Apart from yet another cable that is being built in partnership with Facebook to connect the U.S. East Coast and Europe — which will have a capacity of 160 Tbps — an extension of the FASTER network will also connect Japan and Taiwan over two fiber pairs. Incidentally, Google will have 100 percent usage rights over the Japan-Taiwan pair through its Google Cable Bermuda subsidiary.

The first undersea cables of any significance were laid down by the British in the 19th century, for use in telegraphs. Over a century has passed and although the nature and quantity of data has undergone a significant change, the basic medium of transfer has remained the same. With an increase in the amount of data that is being transmitted every second, there is a significant need for modes that can carry larger quantities. Undersea cables are able to provide just that with the added benefit of high speeds, making them the medium of choice of large, data consuming corporations.


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