Google funds massive undersea cable

February 27, 2008 // 8:55 a.m.

Tags: #cable #google #internet #japan #pactel #undersea #us

If satellite links aren't your cup of tea, Google's got your back: everyone's favourite ad-broker has joined a consortium planning to build a new submarine fibre-optic cable connecting Japan to the west cost of the United States of America.

The cable – to be known as 'Unity' – will be approximately 6,200 miles long and will cost around $300 million. It's money well spent, however: the five-pair cable will be capable of transferring data at a rate of 4.8Tb/s – yes, that's 4.8 terabits per second. To use a slightly tired example, that's the equivalent of just over sixty double-layer DVD-9s every single second.

As if that wasn't enough, the cable will actually support up to eight pairs, with the three other pairs being left 'dark' until damage or an increase in utilisation prompts their requirement.

The companies involved in the Unity project include Google – for obvious reasons – along with telecos Sing Tel and Bharti Airtel and deep-sea cable experts Pacnet. The six-strong fellowship is completed with NEC and Tyco Telecommunications who will be doing the actual building of the technology.

As we move inexorably towards Web 2.0 – whether we want it or not – bandwidth requirements are set to skyrocket, and no-one is due to feel the strain as much as Google. Without access to cheap bandwidth in massive quantities the Mountain View firm would be unable to continue to grow in the way they have enjoyed previously. They're not stupid: a share of a $300 million undersea cable now will save them a fortune in coming years.

Fancy getting a terminal on the end of one of the 960Gb/s circuits, or are you just jealous that Japan gets the fun toys again? Let us know over in the forums.

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