Google Taps Fiber with Manhattan Move

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-09-13 Print this article Print

Google's new Manhattan office sites atop one of the biggest fiberoptic facilities in North America.

I've been doing research for a separate project on Google's new offices in Manhattan, which I first reported about here. I can't reveal everything just yet, but I do have more details to report. Turns out 111 8th Avenue is one of the premier "carrier hotels" in the country, a 2.8-million-square-foot behemoth of a fiber gateway.

What's a carrier hotel? It's a very secure, very expensive location for firms that traffic in large amounts of data. 111 8th Avenue, it turns out, sits right on top of the Hudson Street-Ninth Avenue fiber highway. By moving into its new building, Google is gaining access to a nearly unlimited amount of bandwidth. (For more eWEEK coverage on this, see David Morgenstern's Google and its Continuing Dark Fiber Mystery.) The only other building in New York that has this kind of power is 60 Hudson Street. Suffice to say, the two are closely connected.

Google won't say anything about this. And what's more, anyone involved in the deal is under a nondisclosure agreement, as Google is wont to do. But by moving into 111 8th Avenue, Google is gaining access to a schload of Tier 1 service providers like AT&T, Verizon, NTT, Sprint, and others, who all have a presence in the building (here's a tenant list, which is more or less up to date). Ostensibly, Google will be able to bypass the telcos and offer services directly with the Tier 2 providers in the building.

It's also interesting to note that a co-landlord of the building is NYC Connect, a premier co-location and fiber-optic services company. Its facilities are built to N+1 redundancy. According to its Web site, its facilities are served by 1,200-amps from a 480-volt electric power supply with a 750KW Cummins diesel generator and UPS system providing backup power.

floor plan I can't say much more because of the project I'm working on, but suffice to say Google basically just tapped the biggest river of data in North America. According to a few people that I've talked with, at some point in time, every piece of data that travels on high-speed cables in North America goes through that building.

111 8th Avenue is also the second-largest building in New York (or perhaps third--experts differ here), covering an entire city block between 8th and 9th Avenues with 2.8 million square feet.

Other interesting facts: 111 8th Avenue was built in 1932 as the Port Authority of New York's commerce building. It functioned under the PA until 1973, when Sylvan Lawrence bought the building. In 1998 it was bought by another firm, Taconic, which refurbished the place and installed generators, cooling systems and fiber-optic capacity. They also remodeled some interior spaces, creating the open areas that are part of Google's floor plan now.

Fascinating tidbit: 111 8th Avenue used to be an old media headquarters and was once the biggest paper check processing center in Manhattan. Chemical Bank, which merged with Chase in the '90s, ran a huge processing center here. If you wrote a check in New York, odds were it was processed and filed in the basement of 111 8th Avenue.

Today odds are, if you're advertising online, the money goes through that building once again. |

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