Google's Undersea 60Tbps Cable Goes Live June 30th, 2016

AH Google 4 Logo Chris 2015 36

There are tons of companies in the telecom space who could benefit from a direct data pipeline across the Pacific Ocean. While a few of these already exist, the largest, most ambitious and fastest one yet, about two years in the making, is set to go live on June 30. The pipeline runs between the state of Oregon in the United States and the prefectures of Chiba and Mie in Japan, using cutting edge fiber technology to allow for its breakneck data speeds. The cable stretches 9,000 kilometers beneath the waves and delivers uninterrupted data flow between those three waypoints, allowing an entirely new and much faster way to transmit data between the Americas and Asia.

When nodes on a network path are plentiful, most of the speed between destinations is preserved fairly well. Nodes become far less plentiful and much further apart, however, when traveling long distances over the ocean. Intercontinental data can be somewhat fast, but for the most part, slows down significantly compared to local options. This ultra high speed pipeline should change all that. Within Japan and within the continental US, network speeds can flourish due to an abundance of nodes. Once data needs to leave or come from across an ocean, however, things take a turn for the slow in short order. After all, be it electricity in a line or radio waves in the sky, data has to be transmitted through some physical means. An express pipeline will not only help to connect Oregon to Japan, but will help to connect all of the Americas, including the US, Canada as well as South and Central America, with all of Asia, including the likes of China, North Korea and South Korea, all the way to the Middle East and Africa. While Japan is an island country, it is much closer to mainland Asia than Oregon is, which means less degradation.


The list of backers for the pipeline reads like a who’s who of involved telecom players, including Google, China Telecom Global, Singtel, and KDDI. The cable, referred to as FASTER, got its name from the fact that people on the committee would use the word almost constantly. According to project chairman Hiromitsu Todokoro, it was so often repeated that it became a motto, eventually morphing into the name of the project. FASTER isn’t Google’s first rodeo in the area of undersea cabling, of course; they were involved in another trans-Pacific cable called Unity, and a pan-Asia system. Another similar project is on the horizon, with the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius wanting to lay cable between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. With all of these undersea cables, worldwide intercontinental data speeds should increase drastically.