Google To Lay Undersea Telecom Pipes To Asia

Scuba diver with Google logo

Google and a consortium of five telecommunication firms have joined together in a $400 million project to connect southeast Asia with the fastest undersea fibre-optic pipe in the world. The project is called Southeast Asia Japan Cable.

This investment is the second major undersea telecom project undertaken by Google.

Previously, Google joined another international consortium to build a trans-Pacific bandwidth pipe code-named Unity.

That project cost $300 million and took two years to connect a 6,200 mile pipe from Los Angeles to Chikura, Japan. Unity is now in the testing phase and will be officially online in early 2010. It’s capable of delivering 960 gigabits a second from each of its 5 fibre optic lines.

The SJC will initially connect Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Phillipines, and Japan to provide 17 terabits per second of bandwidth, upgradeable to 23 Tbps. When finished the SJC will provide the fastest connection in the world.

Google’s investment are not typical. Most content providers simply lease bandwidth access.  Google’s involvement stems from its belief that major growth in Internet use in Asia in the coming years warrants direct investments. Google will not divulge how much money it has paid in both projects. 

Today over 738 million Internet users originate from Asia. China has 338 million users. With those numbers it makes sense for Google to heavily invest into the telecommunications projects.

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