Tech giants and SoftBank commit to 14,000km Pacific subsea cable

31 Oct 2017

SoftBank store in Japan. Image: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock

SoftBank’s latest investment will see it join forces with some of tech’s biggest names to lay a subsea cable spanning the Pacific Ocean.

As part of one of the most ambitious connectivity efforts in years, Japanese telecoms and investment giant SoftBank has announced it will team up with Facebook, Amazon and a number of other tech companies to lay a subsea cable across a distance of 14,000km.

According to VentureBeat, the Jupiter cable will span the width of the Pacific Ocean and connect Los Angeles with two main landing points in Japan in the cities of Shima and Maruyama.

A further third landing site has been selected in the city of Daet in the Philippines, which will see many of the Asian region’s telecoms providers team up to act as system suppliers, including SoftBank’s biggest Japanese rival, NTT.

With an estimated date of completion set for 2020, the cable will have an operational capacity of 60Tbps with the aim of increasing this over the years as demand for high broadband speeds inevitably increase.

SoftBank said that the Jupiter cable will be hooked up to its existing network infrastructure to create a “redundant three-route structure” between the US and Asia.

Subsea cable

Route for the Jupiter subsea cable. Image: SoftBank

Driving the demand for this new subsea cable is the onset of the age of the internet of things (IoT) among other demanding technologies, the company added.

Speaking of the endeavour, SoftBank’s Koji Ishii, the co-chair of the Jupiter consortium, said: “The demand for bandwidth in the Pacific region continues to grow at a remarkable rate, and is accompanied by the rise of capacity-dependent applications like live video, augmented and virtual reality, and 4K/8K video.

“Jupiter will provide the necessary diversity of connections and the highest capacity available to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace.”

This isn’t the first subsea cable to span the oceans of late with news in August that, for the first time, the continents of South America and Africa were to receive their first direct connection.

Starting in the south of Angola’s capital, Luanda, the new subsea cable will stretch a distance of more than 6,500km to the city of Fortaleza in Brazil. Called the South Atlantic Cable System, it has a capacity of 40Tbps.

SoftBank store in Japan. Image: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic