Google, along with five other telcom companies, is investing $300 million into the construction of an 10,000 km undersea cable to carry data to and from Asia. The high-speed fiber optic cable, known as Unity, will run between the US and Japan, and will have a capacity of up to 7.68 Tbps.
Unity is expected to accommodate the growing demand for trans-Pacific bandwidth. According to TeleGeography, such trans-Pacific bandwidth has increased annually at the rate of 63.7%, and is expected to double biannually from now until 2013.
Construction on Unity is expected to be completed in 2010, at which time Google is projecting a 20% increase the amount of available trans-Pacific bandwidth.
In investing in the trans-Pacific cable, Google has become the first non-telecom company to take an active role in submarine cable ownership. Their reasons for investing in bandwidth is simple: they use a lot of it, especially since acquiring YouTube. In many cases, they’ve exceeded what traditional providers can offer them, and have been forced to think and work outside the box to get their own solution in place.
Google, however isn’t the only one backing undersea bandwidth solutions, in fact, three additional submarine cables have been planed. In August of 2008, the Trans-Pacific Express Cable system is expected to go live, which connects the US to China, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan. Next year, in 2009, The Asia-America Gateway Cable System will connect the US to several south Asian countries. Lastly, a third cable is currently being planned by Reliance FLAG, which was formerly known as FLAG Telecom.
When all four new undersea cables are up and running, the bandwidth capacity will have doubled. It still won’t be enough, however, and Google and others will need to continue expanding their efforts.