Google, Facebook investing in submarine cable system from LA to Hong Kong

Once completed, the cable system will be the highest-capacity transpacific route.

Google and Facebook announced Wednesday they are investing in submarine cable system between Los Angeles and Hong Kong -- the first ever with ultra high-capacity.

The Silicon Valley giants are teaming up with undersea communications company TE Subcom and Hong Kong-based broadband provider Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC) to build the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN). It will have 12,800km of fiber and an estimated cable capacity of 120Tbps -- that's enough capacity for Hong Kong to have 80 million concurrent HD video conference calls with Los Angeles. Once completed, PLCN will be the highest-capacity transpacific route. Its commercial launch is slated for the summer of 2018.

TE Subcom noted that the system includes its C+L technology, which effectively doubles the available bandwidth and capacity per fiber pair over a traditional C-band-only designed system.

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In a statement, PLDC chairman Wei Junkang hailed the involvement of Google and Facebook, calling it "a strong signal that PLCN will be trusted to address the capacity needs for internet and international communications services throughout the Pacific Rim".

For Google, the investment helps build up the backbone of the Google Cloud Platform, part of the enterprise business rebranded simply as Google Cloud, helping it serve enterprise customers in Asia. The company noted in a blog post that this is the sixth submarine cable in which Google has an ownership stake. Its Trans-Pacific fiber optic cable system connecting Oregon to Japan, dubbed FASTER, came online over the summer.

Google said that the PLCN is "designed to accommodate evolving infrastructure technology, allowing us to independently choose network equipment and refresh optical technology as it advances".

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