Plans to construct a new undersea network cable that will connect US, UK and Spain was announced recently by the search engine giant Google.
A new technology will be incorporated in the cable that will be a significant upgrade compared to the existing older cable lines, claimed the tech giant.
The company expects to complete the project by 2022.
According to Google’s estimate, about 98 per cent of the total data of the world is carried from one part to another via underwater data cables and therefore these are vital to the global communications infrastructure. Typically, communications companies build these undersea cable networks, often forming consortium to pool in resources, and then charge companies that use those networks for data transfer.
The latest cable which is also privately owned by Google and is the fourth such undersea cable owned and operated by the company is called “Grace Hopper”, named after an American computer scientist and naval rear admiral. It is slated to hit the UK at Bude, in Cornwall.
But according to John Delaney from telecoms analyst IDC, Google needs “an ever-increasing amount of transatlantic bandwidth”. “Building its own cables helps them choose cable routes that are most optimal,” and near data centres, he said.
“It also minimizes operational expenditure by reducing the need to pay telcos and other third-party cable owners for the use of their infrastructure,” he added.
Google needs a highly dependable internet connection, said Jayne Stowell, who oversees construction of Google’s undersea cable projects. “It’s not enough to have a single cable because any element in the network can break from time to time, and if it’s 8,000 metres under the sea, it takes a while to repair,” she said.
Ireland and the United States were connected in by telegraph in 1885 by the world’s first ever transatlantic telecommunications. Currently, the continents of North America and Europe are connected through a network of undersea cables about 750,000 miles long that supports the demands of communication and entertainment. That length could circumnavigate the Earth almost 17 times.
It is however important that these undersea cables are also secured from damages from hazards such as earthquakes and heavy currents. Most of the cables have a shelf life of about 25 years.
But some of the transatlantic cables are “going out of service and we need newer, better and more sophisticated technology”, says Stowell. “It served its need and purpose at the time, but it’s old generation,” she said.
Currently, Google does not have a cable that lands in Mainland China, where the company’s products and services are restricted by the Chinese government. Google does not have any plans to build any undersea cable network that land in China in the foreseeable future, Stowell said.
“We understand, being an American company, and understand the legalities of what we must abide by,” she said. She however also pointed out that compared to China, the rest of Asia is a much larger market for the company.
(Adapted from BBC.com)