Google is laying even more subsea cables – one in completely unclaimed territory

Take a dive into the otherworldly waters of Earth’s greatest oceans and you’ll see things of beauty. From ethereal sea life and schools of fish to crustaceans, deadly sharks and…oh, a sprawling network of underwater cables from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet. Now, Google is to expand its fleet of fibre optics to build three new subsea cables in completely unclaimed territory.

The three cables, one of which will be privately owned, will be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years. Curie, the Alphabet-owned cable will snake from the US to Chile; with the other two being jointly funded by a consortium that includes the likes of Facebook, and will link the US to Europe, and Hong Kong to Guam. The cables will expand Google’s existing Google Cloud network, being able to better serve G Suite services and Google Cloud platforms, and it will reportedly cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

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The thing is, for Alphabet and Google, it is a worthwhile investment. At the moment, while Alphabet is the biggest company in the world, it certainly isn’t the biggest in cloud computing. Currently, Google is third behind both Amazon and Microsoft, who use their undersea cables to run a shopping website and government databases respectively. When you consider that cloud computing is predicted to make companies $411 billion by 2020, hundreds of millions of dollars are mere peanuts in the greater scheme of things.

A complete list of Google’s subsea cable investments

Cable Year in service Landings
Curie 2019 US, CL
Havfrue 2019 US, IE, DK
HK-G 2019 HK, GU
Indigo 2019 SG, ID, AU
PLCN 2019 HK, LA
Tannat 2018 BR, UY
Junior 2018 Rio, Santos
Monet 2017 US, BR
FASTER 2016 US, JP, TW
SJC 2013 JP, HK, SG
UNITY 2010 US, JP

The addition of these three cables will bring Google’s total to eleven, but the Curie cable – endearingly named after French scientist – Marie Curie, is breaking ground. The Curie cable is the first intercontinental cable built by a company that’s not involved in telecommunications and stretches over 6,200 miles. The company also announced five new regions: The Netherlands and Montreal will come online early this year, while Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Finland will be connected later in 2018.

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Google launched a transpacific fibre-optic cable back in 2016, linking the US to Japan, and last year announced a planned undersea cable that would run from Australia to Singapore. The news comes as just last month, the UK’s senior military officer claimed that undersea cables are vulnerable to attack from Russia, potentially taking our connected world down.

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