Facebook, Google shake up submarine cabling market with planned 8,000-mile network

A map showing Google and Pacific Light Cable Network's planned submarine cable route. Image: Google

Facebook and Google have hatched a plan to build a 8,000 submarine mile cable from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, a move that reflects the growing movement by content-driven companies to take their network matters into their own hands. The pair is being joined by PLDC (Pacific Light Data Communication Co.).

Set to go live in 2018, the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will leverage TE SubCom’s C+L technology, which claims to double the available bandwidth and capacity per fiber pair over a traditional C-band-only designed system.

When the network is completed, Facebook and Google will be able to access capacity on the network and lease capacity to other service providers. However, neither company has released any specific details about the structure.  

Google and Faceook have become active participants in the submarine cable business.

In June, Google in partnership with NEC, China Mobile and others, lit the new FASTER network. This network consists of a six-fiber pair cable system with 100 Gbps digital coherent optical transmission technology.

The "Faster" consortium – comprised of China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and Singtel – announced its intent to build the undersea cable system in 2014. NEC – one of the world's top three submarine cable system vendors alongside Nokia and TE Subcom – built the 9,000km trans-Pacific cable, which stretches between Oregon in the United States and two landing points in Japan in the Chiba and Mie prefectures.

Google currently takes part in six submarine cable networks.

Meanwhile Facebook and Microsoft revealed plans to build their own submarine cable network that will bypass congested network routes called MAREA.

Set to go live next year, the 4,100 km MAREA cable is being built in partnership with Telefonica. Construction of the cable will begin August 2016 and is expected to be completed in October 2017.

TeleGeography recently noted that Google's entry into undersea cables illustrates how fast capacity has increased on the company's own internal networks.

The research firm estimated that capacity on various content networks such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have increased by 70 percent on the Atlantic and Pacific.

For more:
- Business Insider has this article

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