Nobody’s doing fewer Internet searches or watching fewer YouTube videos. So it’s no surprise that Google Inc., like other big Internet companies such as Facebook Inc., is laying more and more fiber optic cables under the world’s oceans to handle the ever-increasing traffic.
Today, Google announced plans to invest in a new cable called Indigo (pictured) that will serve Google traffic in Southeast Asia. In particular, it will connect Perth and Sydney with Singapore, with a branch also going to Jakarta, Indonesia. Google is building the system, expect to be finished by mid-2019, with AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra.
The cable, about 9,000 kilometers long, is intended to provide about 18 terabits per second of bandwidth — enough, Google helpfully adds, to let people in Sydney and Singapore to join 8 million simultaneous high-definition video conference calls. It’s Google’s fifth in Asia.
Google has made a raft of other undersea cable investments around the world since 2010, but the pace seems to have picked up especially in Asia. Google claims its network backbone is the largest among public cloud providers.
Google said it was the first technology company to invest in undersea cable when it began in 2008 with the trans-Pacific Unity cable that was lit up in 2010. But the search giant is hardly the only tech company on the high seas. Google and Facebook announced plans last October for a Los Angeles-to-Hong Kong cable, and Facebook and Microsoft Corp. said last May that they would build a cable across the Atlantic.
Here’s a Google video of how undersea cables are designed and laid: