In an age of globalization, several companies are now making high efforts to connect the world and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is one of the leading players that have stepped up for the initiative. While the tech giant has already been investing in multiple sources of Internet connection, one of its largest investments is ready for operations. The latest news reveals that Google-backed undersea cable that connects US to Japan goes live today.
Google announced partnership with six telecom providers back in 2014 to construct $300 million undersea FASTER cable to connect the two countries. The consortium of six companies included NEC, China Telecom, China Mobile, Global Transit, Singtel, and KDDI. The FASTER six-fiber pair cable stretches for 9,000 km along the Pacific Ocean and can deliver up to 60 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth. According to Google SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Holzle, that’s nearly “10 million times faster than your cable modem.”
The latest cable is built such that it has two strategic landing points in Japan. These locations are outside tsunami zones so as to help prevent any network outages. While the initiative is mainly focused to connect US and Japan, the cable will also connect Taiwan and Japan over two fiber pairs that will deliver an initial capacity of 20 Tbps. The said extension is done by Google’s own Bermuda subsidiary.
This is not the first undersea cable Google has built. It has been doing investments since 2008 and as a result one its transpacific systems called Unity got completed in 2010. Google’s another pan-Asia SJC system went operational in 2013. Google now owns four undersea cables around the world, and it continues to make more investments. For instance, it recently announced partnership with Facebook to build fastest trans-Atlantic cable with a capacity of 160 Tbps. The cable will connect US East Coast and Europe.
There are two main reasons behind making such large investments. First, Google wants to bring the whole world online. As more people use Internet, it will mean more people using Google services and hence, the tech giant will eventually benefit. Google can also rent out its high speed Internet services to other companies, which would mean another source of revenue for the company. The search giant itself needs high speed Internet and resources to connect the whole word. This is because the company has massive amount of customer data through its search engine and other sources, which it needs to manage and transfer to various of its powerful data centers so that both and customers can access data from every part of the world.
The advancements in technology such as virtual reality are also adding up to the demand. Streaming HD VR videos require high speed Internet access. Since Google is a major player in VR, it has high demand for fast internet and its latest initiative is surely going to help meet its needs. The tech giant also plans to launch a new cloud data center region in Tokyo later this year. Hence, the fast bandwidth from new cable would increase the efficiency of these cloud operations.
Underwater cables are also not the only source of Internet in which Google has invested. There is also a Google Fiber division, which operates as a standalone subsidiary of the parent company Alphabet. The division focuses on delivering high-speed Internet access to some major US markets and wipe off share of traditional Internet providers that offer slow and outdated services. Google also has its Project Loon that aims to offer wi-fi to underprivileged and remote areas through hot air balloons. The initiative is part Google X lab, which also has other innovative projects such as the self-driving cars and Google Glass.
Other companies are also taking initiatives and investing to connect the world. Facebook has its Free Basics service that offers access to some basic websites for free. The service is available in multiple countries, especially the underprivileged ones that lack Internet access. Microsoft and Facebook also announced a partnership last month where the two started a project for the giant Internet cable across the Atlantic Ocean. The two firms partnered for their mutual benefit as they will use the cable to speed up the Internet access to their services. Google already has a big lead and that is likely going to sustain for long. However, with entrance of other companies, the whole industry will benefit and that is in the best interest of the customers.