Google-led consortium to build new Latin American submarine cable

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has taken another step to becoming a player in the burgeoning Latin American submarine cable market, announcing it will participate in a consortium that will build a cable linking the United States by the end of 2016.

The Internet search giant will partner with Brazilian ISP Algar Telecom, Uruguayan incumbent telco ANTEL and the Angola Cables consortium of Angolan ISPs.

Set to carry 64 Terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity over six fiber pairs, the Angola Cables group said it plans to connect the U.S.-Brazil cable to its planned South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which will link Brazil to Africa in 2016.

This is not Google's first foray into the submarine cabling market.

Earlier this year, Google and five Asia-based service providers announced plans for the "FASTER" cable. Other participants include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel. 

While the majority of submarine cable systems have been built by groups of traditional service providers, TeleGeography said that Google's entry into this segment illustrates how fast capacity has increased on their own internal networks. The research firm estimates that capacity on various content networks such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) have increased by 70 percent on the Atlantic and Pacific.

"The networks of large content providers have now reached such a scale that it makes economic sense for them to invest directly in long-distance fiber-optic networks," said Tim Stronge, vice president of research for TeleGeography. "Purchasing capacity on the U.S.-Brazil route costs 8-10 times more than capacity from London to New York. For bandwidth users with sufficiently large requirements, investing directly in a new cable could offer substantial long-term savings over leasing capacity from carriers."

Latin America has become a hot target for new submarine cable systems. Besides the planned South Atlantic Cable System, other new cables for U.S. to Brazil route include AMX1 and Seabras-1, which is set to go live this year and in 2016, respectively.

For more:
- El Observador has this article (translated from Spanish)
- TeleGeography has this article

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