Google plans new subsea cable

Google says it plans to build a new subsea cable to improve internet speeds between Europe and the US.

A vast underwater network of cables crisscrossing the ocean makes it possible to share, search, send, and receive information around the world at the speed of light.

“In today’s day and age, as the ways that we work, play and connect are becoming increasingly digital, reliable connectivity is more important than ever before,” it said in a statement on Tuesday (28 July).

“That’s why we’re excited to announce a new subsea cable—Grace Hopper—which will run between the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain, providing better resilience for the network that underpins Google’s consumer and enterprise products.”

Once commissioned, the Grace Hopper cable will be one of the first new cables to connect the  US and UK since 2003, increasing capacity on this busy global crossroads and powering Google services like Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud.

The Grace Hopper cable will be equipped with 16 fiber pairs (32 fibers), “a significant upgrade to the internet infrastructure connecting the US with Europe”.

A contract to build the cable was signed earlier this year with Eatontown, N.J.-based subsea cable provider, SubCom, and the project is expected to be completed in 2022.

“Grace Hopper will incorporate novel optical fiber switching that allows for increased reliability in global communications, enabling us to better move traffic around outages.

“Google and SubCom engineers collaborated on incorporating this innovative switching architecture into the system. Grace Hopper is the world’s first submarine cable to use this technology, and we look forward to deploying the technology on other systems in the future, the tech firm said.

This cable is named for computer science pioneer Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906–1992), best known for her work on one of the first linkers (compilers), which was critical in the development of the COBOL programming language.

In May, Bloomberg reported that Facebook Inc and some of the world’s largest telecom carriers including China Mobile are joining forces to build a giant sub-sea cable to help bring more reliable and faster internet across Africa, including South Africa.

The 37,000-kilometer (23,000 miles) long cable – dubbed 2Africa – will connect Europe to the Middle East and 16 African countries.

Google also announced its own sub-sea cable connecting Europe to Africa last year, using a route down the west coast.

2Africa is expected to come into operation by 2024 and will deliver more than the combined capacity of all sub-sea cables serving Africa.

Read: Faster internet coming to South Africa with Facebook’s $1 billion subsea cable

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Google plans new subsea cable