Google sinks $1 billion into new undersea cables

Google has announced it will invest $1 billion in undersea cables around Japan, which includes the expansion of the Pacific Connect initiative and two new subsea cables called Proa and Taihei.

Andrew Wooden

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read

Built in collaboration with KDDI, ARTERIA, Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the cables will create new fibre-optic routes between the continental US and Japan.

The Proa subsea cable (named after the traditional sailing canoes of the Marianas) from NEC will connect Japan, the CNMI, and Guam. The NEC cable system Taiwan-Philippines-US (known as TPU) will be extended to the CNMI. As the CNMI’s first international subsea cables, Proa and TPU will set up a new route between the continental US and Shima, Japan.

Taihei (the Japanese word for both peace and Pacific Ocean) is another NEC cable that will connect Japan to Hawaii. Tabua will also be extended to Hawaii. Once complete, the Taihei and Tabua systems will create a ‘diverse path’ between the continental US to Takahagi, Japan.

“In partnership with Governor Green’s administration, Hawaii's Connect Kakou initiative is working to ensure people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed Internet,” said Sylvia Luke, Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii. “The Pacific Connect initiative perfectly complements our planned efforts, and will significantly enhance our future connections from Hawaii to the continental U.S. and Japan as well as ensure communities across the Pacific have equitable and reliable access to digital services."

Tatsuya Abe, President and CEO at ARTERIA Networks added: "Connectivity between Tokyo — the heart of the Internet in Japan — and overseas has been concentrated in Minami-boso, Chiba Prefecture. The Ibaraki region, including Takahagi, had not had any submarine cable landings for over 20 years until the arrival of Topaz, which ARTERIA has supported. Leveraging the landing facilities for the Topaz project, we are delighted to partner further with Google for this visionary initiative, which will contribute to strengthening Japan's digital infrastructure. As a partner of the Pacific Connect initiative, we look forward to its future development."

Google says it will also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam which will connect the transpacific routes, which is intended to improve reliability and reduce latency for the Pacific Islands and elsewhere.

The importance of resilience in subsea cable infrastructure can be observed in areas where cables are damaged – as has recently been seen by connectivity disruptions in West Africa and the Red Sea.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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