Monday, March 3, 2008

Google's Trans-Pacific Fiber Optic Cable Project

Last week, on February 26, Google and 5 other international companies announced the Unity consortium. This group has agreed to run a 5 pair, 10,000 kilometer fiber optic communications cable connecting the United States and Japan. According to a Google press release, each fiber pair will be capable of handling up to 960 Gigabits pers second (Gbps) and the cable system will allow expansion up to eight fiber pairs.

At 5 pairs: (5 pairs)*(960 Gbps/pair) = (5 pairs)*(960x109 bps) = 4.8 x 1012 bps = 4.8 Terabits per second (Tbps)

At 8 pairs: (8 pairs)*(960 Gbps/pair) = (8 pairs)*(960x109 bps) = 7.68 x 1012 bps = 7.68 Terabits per second (Tbps)

The Unity consortium companies are:

Bharti Airtel - India's leading integrated telecommunications services provider.

Global Transit - A South Asian IP Transit network provider

Google - You know who they are!

KDDI - A Japanese information and communications company offering all communications services, from fixed to mobile.

Pacnet - An Asian company that owns and operates EAC-C2C, Asia's largest privately-owned submarine cable network at 36,800 km with design capacity of 10.24 Tbps.

SingTel - Asia's leading communications group providing a portfolio of services including voice and data services over fixed, wireless and Internet platforms.

By partnering with the providers, Google will be extending it's reach into the Asian markets - combined Bharti Airtel and SingTel have over 232 million mobile and landline customers. In addition, the system will connect into other Asian cable systems and reach more customers. Here's more from the google press release:

According to the TeleGeography Global Bandwidth Report, 2007, Trans-Pacific bandwidth demand has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.7 percent between 2002 and 2007. It is expected to continue to grow strongly from 2008 to 2013, with total demand for capacity doubling roughly every two years.

It's interesting to see competing Asian market providers partnering in a system within a system, with each having ownership and management of individual fiber pairs - a testament to the power and influence Google has.

NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications will build and install the system with completion by the first quarter of 2010.

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