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Google joins $300m venture to lay undersea Internet cable between US and Japan

Google is teaming up with five telecom and communications firms to install an undersea cable network between the US and Japan to help deal with increasing Internet traffic between North America and Asia.

Called ‘Faster,’ the $300 million project will involve laying a cable across 5,000 miles of ocean, between the West Coast of the US and Japan. This will then link up with neighboring cable systems already in place to improve the network beyond Japan to other locations throughout Asia. On the US side, the cable will connect to networks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

In a release Monday, system supplier NEC said the project was being undertaken “in order to address the intense traffic demands for broadband, mobile, applications, content and enterprise data exchange on the trans-Pacific route.”

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Commenting on the venture, Google’s Urs Hölzle said the undersea cable was vital to help keeps its products fast and reliable, “whether it’s for the more than a billion Android users or developers building products on Google Cloud Platform.”

The cable, which should be ready to go into operation in spring 2016, will have a data capacity of 60 terabits per second – that’s about 10 million times faster than your cable modem, according to Hölzle.

Besides Google, the project also involves investment from a number of Asia-based firms, including China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI, and SingTel.

Chairman of the Faster executive committee, Mr. Woohyong Choi, said the new cables would “form an important infrastructure that helps run global Internet and communications,” adding that the new technology will benefit “all users of the global Internet.”

Google has invested in such undersea cable projects before, in 2008 laying one to Japan, and in 2011 helping to build one between Japan and a number of south-east Asian nations. With its business built around the Web, the Mountain View company is, of course, more than happy to put money into such ventures. It’s also working to improve broadband speeds in US cities, and has various projects on the go to bring Internet access to remote areas around the world.