Google is partnering with Facebook, Pacific Light Data Communications and TE Subcom to build a massive, super-fast undersea cable connecting Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Image: Getty
Google says this is the first direct submarine cable system between LA and Hong Kong with super-fast capacity. How fast is it? The Google Blog says:
The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will have 12,800 km of fibre and an estimated cable capacity of 120 Tbps, making it the highest-capacity trans-Pacific route, a record currently held by another Google-backed cable system, FASTER. In other words, PLCN will provide enough capacity for Hong Kong to have 80 million concurrent HD video conference calls with Los Angeles -- an example of Google Cloud Platform having the largest network backbone of any public cloud provider.
Sending data at 120 Tbps between Hong Kong and Los Angeles is no small feat. The undersea cable that Microsoft and Facebook are building between Virginia and Spain is faster, but it's also about half the distance.
Google now has and ownership stake in six submarine cables. Increasingly, tech companies are investing in this kind of infrastructure, in part because the cloud backends that these companies want users to use need to have reliable, fast connections. Otherwise, more bandwidth will hopefully mean that people in Hong Kong can stream YouTube from LA servers just a little bit faster.