Google announces new subsea cable investment to boost cloud in Asia

13 Apr 2018

Submarine cable loading bay. Image: Korn Srirawan

Google continues its subsea cable investment spree with new JGA cable system project.

Google is investing in a new subsea cable that will connect Tokyo and Osaka to Guam, and Guam to Sydney.

The Japan-Guam-Australia (JGA) cable system will stretch close to 6,000 miles and will be completed in 2019.

Google cloud investment

The tech giant has invested in JGA’s southern segment, which will connect Guam to Sydney, along with Australian ISP AARNet and subsea manufacturer RTI-C.

People living in Australia and south-east Asia will see the capacity and range of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) boosted in those regions. Companies using Google Cloud Platform include iCloud, Spotify and Niantic, so there will be access to greater capacity and fewer disruptions to their services once the project is up and running.

“This new addition to the Google submarine network family, combined with investments in the Indigo, HK-G and SJC subsea cables, will give GCP users access to scalable, diverse capacity on the lowest latency routes via a constellation of cables forming a ring between the key markets of Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore,” said Michael Francois of Google’s global network infrastructure team.

Google launched three submarine cables in January: Curie, a private cable between Chile and Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the US to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable System (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communications hubs in Asia.

South Africa to US

Elsewhere in the world, it is expected that a subsea cable from South Africa to the US will start commercially operating in 2020.

Seaborn, which operates the most direct subsea system between São Paulo and New York, announced plans last year to build a route that would be Africa’s first direct connection to the US. South Africa has some subsea cable systems, but none currently have international connectivity capacity.

Seaborn COO Andy Bax said the new cable would provide a direct route between northern Brazil and Cape Town, effectively connecting Cape Town and New York via Brazil. It will cost between $120 and $140 to build.

The project is currently in the development phase, which involves identifying potential coastal landing sites and negotiations with interested parties.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects