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article imageGoogle, FB team up to build undersea cable from U.S. to Asia

By Lucky Malicay     Oct 14, 2016 in Technology
Facebook and Google have teamed up to take part in the construction of a high-capacity internet cable connecting North America and Asia.
Stretching 12,800 kilometers, the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will cross beneath the Pacific Ocean linking Los Angeles and Hong Kong. The two American companies collaborate with a subsidiary of China Soft Power Holdings and the undersea communications technology firm TE SubCom for the project.
Google networking infrastructure director Brian Quigley said the PLCN will be the highest-capacity trans-Pacific route with 120 terabytes of data per second (Tbps), surpassing Google’s other cable system, FASTER.
He said the network, which will be operational by 2018, has enough capacity to cover up to 80 million high-definition video conference calls simultaneously between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Aside from the PLCN and FASTER, Google also partly owns other submarine cables Unity, SJC, MONET and Tannat.
“Google’s mission is to connect people to the world’s information by providing fast and reliable infrastructure. From data centers to cables under the sea, we’re dedicated to building infrastructure that reaches more people than ever before,” Quigley said.
“Today, we announced that we will work with Facebook, Pacific Light Data Communication and TE SubCom to build the first direct submarine cable system between Los Angeles and Hong Kong with ultra high-capacity.”
Facebook vice president of network engineering Najam Ahmad said the PLCN will further boost connections between the company’s data centers in the U.S. and Asia amid its growing services and users.
"This new direct route will give us more diversity and resiliency in the Pacific," Ahmad said.
Pacific Light Data Communication Co. Ltd. (PLDC) chairman Wei Junkang said aside from being the first to use ultra-high-capacity connection, PLCN is also expected to be one of the lowest-latency fiber optic routes between the U. S. and the Chinese autonomous territory.
“It is certainly gratifying that global technology companies like Google and Facebook have become co-investors in PLCN. It is a strong signal that PLCN will be trusted to address the capacity needs for internet and international communications services throughout the Pacific Rim. We envision this deployment as the initial step in PLDC’s construction of a global network,” Wei said.
In May, Facebook and Microsoft announced they were putting up a high-speed Internet subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to enhance online services and connections for cloud. The 6,600 kilometer "MAREA" cable system will connect the U.S. and Europe.
The cable, whose construction started in August, will have eight fiber pairs with an initial capacity of 160Tbps. It will be operational in October in 2017.
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