A new six-fiber pair cable system, sporting 100 Gbps digital coherent optical transmission technology and the "latest" digital signal processor, is coming online today that backers including Google, NEC, China Mobile and others said will support speeds between the United States and Japan of 60 Terabits per second (Tbps).
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.
"This was the first trans-Pacific submarine cable built solely by NEC Corporation, employing the latest 100 Gbps digital coherent optical transmission technology. We are honored that the consortium entrusted us to build Faster. Although we faced many challenges during the construction, I am truly glad that we were able to overcome these and to welcome this day," said Kenichi Yoneyama, project manager for Faster at NEC's Submarine Network Division, in a release.
TechCrunch pointed out that Google's involvement in the "Faster" consortium is likely related to the company's plan to launch its Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo later this year.
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.
To be clear, Google isn't the only tech company to invest in an undersea cabling market previously dominated by telecom companies. Facebook and Microsoft hatched plans to build their own submarine cable network that will bypass congested network routes, running from the United States to southern Europe and elsewhere. Separately, Amazon recently announced its investment in the cable from Oregon and Hawaii to Australia and New Zealand.
Further, Hawaiian Telcom recently said it will join a host of Asia Pacific and U.S.-based service providers to establish the Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) consortium to build and operate a trans-Pacific submarine cable system connecting Indonesia, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and California.
Indeed, according to a recent FCC report, submarine cable capacity grew 36 percent a year between 2007 and 2014. The FCC expects submarine cable capacity to grow around 29 percent between 2014 and 2016.
And that's likely why the FCC recently approved rules that require submarine cable operators to report significant outages to the regulator, an initiative that could hold operators more accountable.
AT&T, others say new submarine reporting rules 'flawed,' lack real analysis
Facebook, Microsoft to build 160 Tbps, 4,100 km submarine cable
Google-led consortium to build new Latin American submarine cable
The Contenders: Submarine cable equipment suppliers bide their time as market begins to shift