Google has announced its involvement in an undersea cable that will link the United States and Brazil by year-end 2016. Google will partner with Brazilian ISP Algar Telecom, Uruguayan incumbent telco Antel, and the Angola Cables consortium of Angolan ISPs. The cable will be capable of carrying a total of 64 terabits per second of capacity over six fibre pairs. The Angola Cables group aims to link the US-Brazil cable to its planned South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which would connect Brazil to Africa in 2016.
This announcement marks the second time this year that Google has revealed its involvement in building a major submarine cable system. In August 2014, Google and five carriers from Asia unveiled plans for the ‘FASTER’ cable. FASTER is slated to connect the West Coast of the US to Japan in Q2 2016. Google had previously served as a primary investor in two other submarine cable systems, one connecting across the Pacific and one connecting countries in Southeast Asia.
Traditionally, carriers and ISPs drove development of submarine cables. In recent years, however, Internet content providers such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have greatly increased the size of their internal networks to accommodate the massive traffic volumes generated by their users. These private networks allow content providers to ship traffic around the world before handing it off to ISPs. Data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service reveal that in 2013, capacity on the private networks of companies like Google increased by 70% on the Atlantic and Pacific, while capacity on traditional Internet backbone and carrier networks increased by only 22%.
‘The networks of large content providers have now reached such a scale that it makes economic sense for them to invest directly in long-distance fibre-optic networks,’ said TeleGeography VP of Research Tim Stronge. ‘Purchasing capacity on the US-Brazil route costs eight-to-ten times more than capacity from London to New York. For bandwidth users with sufficiently large requirements, investing directly in a new cable could offer substantial long-term savings over leasing capacity from carriers.’
Other new cables planned for the US-Brazil route include AMX1 (which will be ready for service in 2014) and Seabras-1 (2016). Together with the cable announced by Google and its partners, the three new cables would be the first new fibre-optic networks connecting Brazil and the United States since the South America-1 (SAm-1) cable launched in 2001.
To view an interactive map of existing and planned submarine cables, please visit www.submarinecablemap.com.
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