Google, NEC Part of $300 Million Pacific Internet Cable Plan

Google is one of the backers of Faster, a fiber cable effort that will link the U.S. West Coast with Japan and other Asian regions.

faster cable

Google and NEC are part of a larger group of tech and communications companies that is spending $300 million to run an underwater high-speed Internet cable between the United States and Japan.

The Trans-Pacific cable will have landing points in the United States in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. There will be two landing points in Japan—in Chikura and Shima—that will then hook up with other cables systems to extend capacity to other points in Japan and Asia, according to the consortium.

The high-speed cable—which will be dubbed "Faster"—is needed to handle the growing demands for greater capacity from traffic generated by increasing broadband use, mobile computing, the growing numbers of mobile applications and enterprise data generation, according to Woohyong Choi, chairman of the Faster executive committee.

"Faster is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world," Choi said in a statement. "These cables collectively form an important infrastructure that helps run global Internet and communications… The agreement announced today will benefit all users of the global Internet."

The cable—which also is backed by China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel—will feature high-quality six-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies. Faster will initially offer a capacity as fast as 60 Terabits-per-second, or "about ten million times faster than your cable modem," Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of technical infrastructure for the Google Cloud Platform, said in a posting on Google+.

NEC will be the system supplier for the project, with construction expected to begin immediately. The goal is to have Faster ready to go in the second quarter of 2016.

With the rapid growth of such trends as cloud and mobile computing, big data, video and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), demand for greater network capacity worldwide is increasing quickly. Google has been aggressive in adopting new technologies, including software-defined networking (SDN) and its own Google Fiber initiative in the United States, and participating in other efforts, such as the $300 million Unity Trans-Pacific cable between the United States and Japan that was completed in 2010 and $400 million South-East Asia Japan Cable (SJC), which was ready for service last year.

NEC also was involved in the Unity and SJC cable projects.

"At Google we want our products to be fast and reliable, and that requires a great network infrastructure, whether it's for the more than a billion Android users or developers building products on Google Cloud Platform," Hölzle wrote on Google+. "And sometimes the fastest path requires going through an ocean. … FASTER will make the internet, well, faster and more reliable for our users in Asia."