• Google and Facebook Are Now in the Undersea Cable Business

    Google and Facebook Are Now in the Undersea Cable Business

    The world of submarine communications cable is expanding thanks to major investments by internet giants such as Facebook and Google.

    According to press releases by Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC), a Chinese undersea cabling firm, an ambitious project to connect Asia with the Americas via ultra high-speed broadband cables is being conducted on behalf of Google and Facebook.

    The Pacific Light Cable Network

    The project, which PLDC expects to complete by 2018, will connect Hong Kong with Southern California, and it is anticipated to deliver 120 terabits per second over 12,800 kilometers.

    Once completed, the Pacific Light Cable Network will augment the existing cloud platforms utilized by Google to deliver services such as Google Apps and Gmail. This project would be the fastest trans-Pacific fiber optic cable connection; the current broadband data speed record between Asia and the Americas is also held by Google.

    In the case of Facebook, this undersea cable project will decrease latency and guarantee connectivity between millions of people around the world who are increasingly interested in live streaming video, a technology that pushes the limits of broadband connections.

    For Google, this project marks the sixth instance of its push into advanced broadband and cloud infrastructure. In the past, Facebook has been an investment partner of Microsoft in similar projects that combine undersea cabling with data centers.

    Reaching High Population Density Regions

    Google has important economic interests in Hong Kong and across the rest of the Asia Pacific region. Just like Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, Google relies on massive data infrastructures to deliver its services, and the company would like to increase its share of the cloud productivity software market, which is dominated by Microsoft’s powerful Office 365.

    In addition to building a monumental data infrastructure around the world, Google has also shown interest in providing broadband access to developing nations with high density populations. After experimenting with the Fiber broadband cable project in the United States, Google began to expand its presence in Africa.

    Companies such as Facebook and Virgin are working on innovative solutions to bring broadband access to remote locations with balloons, tiny satellites and even solar-powered drones. Google, on the other hand, took a more traditional and labor-intensive approach in Africa by installing underground networks of fiber optic cables in Uganda and Ghana.

    Google certainly has the cash for these projects, and the profit potential is certainly there. By connecting people who live in areas of high population density, Google is not only extending its brand but also entering new markets that could prove very lucrative in the future.

    Google Apps may not be as polished as Office 365, and its Google+ social network never came close to competing against Facebook, but these platforms could very well grow beyond traditional markets. By bringing internet connectivity to people living in populous Asian and African regions, Google is effectively making its brand very attractive to the developing world.