Google helping expand undersea cable infrastructure

Company is helping build an undersea cable to bring more Internet capacity to Asia as it also looks for partners for an undersea cable to Africa.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Google is once again joining forces with foreign phone companies to help lay new undersea fiber-optic cables to bring faster Internet speeds to the far corners of the world.

On Tuesday, the Web site TeleGeography reported that Google has joined a consortium to build an intra-Asia undersea cable called the Southeast Asia Japan Cable to connect Japan, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Earlier this year, Google joined a group to build an undersea cable linking Japan to the United States. The consortium building the new intra-Asia cable has many of the same members as the consortium developed for the Japan-U.S. cable, including Google, Bharti, SingTel, KDDI, and Global Transit.

There is already a lot of competition along this Southeast Asia route, where several cables have already been planned. As a result, the new intra-Asia SAJC cable won't likely be ready until 2011, TeleGeography analyst Alan Mauldin said in the report.

In addition to helping new fiber under the ocean in Asia, Google is also supposedly looking for partners to help it build a new undersea cable to Africa. So far details have been scarce, but the South African Web site ITWeb reported earlier this month that Google recently met with South African ISP Internet Solutions, Telkom SA, MTN, and Vodacom in July.

The site also reported that Google supposedly met with two existing project leaders, South Africa's Broadband Infraco, which is trying to build a cable along the western coast of the continent to Europe, and Seacom, a privately owned system that will run along Africa's eastern coast, connecting Africa to India and Europe.

Google has been building fiber infrastructure domestically for the last few years. Most of this fiber infrastructure has been used to fuel internal network and data center growth. These new undersea cable investments could be an extension of this strategy. But it also is likely a way for Google to push more bandwidth and capacity into regions of the world where it sees the most growth potential for its services.

Google executives have said for a long time that developing markets offer the biggest opportunity for the company with billions of sets of new eyeballs in these regions poised to use Google's products and services in the future.