After several months of testing, the 5,600-mile, $330 million-dollar cable that connects the western US state of Oregon, with eastern Japan ( prefectures of Chiba and Mie) went live last week.
The cable is able to deliver 60 Terabits per second of bandwidth, NEC specified. FASTER, a consortium of six international companies: China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI & Singtel companies have developed the project.
Working together with its supplier NEC Corporation, announced last week that construction and end-to-end testing of a new trans-Pacific submarine cable system, the ‘FASTER Cable System,’ has been successfully completed.
Out of the cable’s total 60 Tbps bandwidth, Google will have access to 10 Tbps,which they’ve announced they’ll use to improve support to Google customers. This leg of FASTER went live on the 30th of June. The six-fiber pair cable under the Pacific Ocean was first announced in 2014, has been completed and “officially entered into service”.
Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, said the cable’s capacity is “more than any active subsea cable” and is “10 million times faster than your cable modem”.
All of this good news hasn’t come without adversity. Since the start, Google has been forced to protect its undersea data cables with a Kevlar-like coating in order to defend them against shark attacks as they were drawn to them. Sharks have a biological ability to detect electromagnetic fields and It’s been theorized that they are drawn by the magnetic fields generated by the high voltage running through the cables.
Other factors such ad marine travel and naturally occurring phenomena are also factors that could be cause for sudden outages and complication in the future. For example in 2015 in Northern Ireland when an anchor dragged across the ocean floor during construction of a section, it took a crew of 30 and a giant robot to fix the damage.
In May, Facebook and Microsoft announced they would build a similar underwater cable across the Atlantic. The Marea cable will offer speeds of 160 terabytes per second and is due to be constructed in 2016.
Marea will feature eight fiber pairs, offer speeds of up to 160 terabytes per seconds and will be the first to connect the US to southern Europe – from Virginia to Bilbao. Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica, Telxius, will operate and manage Marea.
FASTER also has plans for two other fiber-optic pipelines. the company has invested in two other undersea cables to connect the US to South America, Japan, and other parts of Asia.