Google plunks down $1 billion for extra Japan-US submarine cable

Adds Hawaii stopover for another planned link

Google announced on Wednesday it will invest $1 billion in two submarine cables to create new routes between the US and Japan.

The subsea cables are named Proa and Taihei, and both will be built by Japanese tech giant NEC Corp.

The route planned for Proa traverses Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and then on to Guam. Google's already-in-the-works Taiwan-Philippines-US (TPU) cable system is also getting an extension to CNMI. TPU is also built by NEC and current plans call for it to connect Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam and the US. It is slated to be ready for service in May 2025.

"As the CNMI's first international subsea cables, Proa and TPU will together establish a new route between the continental US and Shima, Japan," stated CNMI.


Google's planned Japan-linked subsea cable system – Click to enlarge

Taihei will offer a direct connection between Japan and Hawaii.

Google's Tabua cable – built by SubCom and expected operational in 2026 – will now be extended to Hawaii, adding an extra stop on its route from the US to Fiji and Australia.

"Once complete, the Taihei and Tabua systems will create a diverse path between the continental US to Takahagi, Japan," boasted Google.

Finally, Google is constructing an interlink cable between Hawaii, the CNMI and Guam to "connect the transpacific routes, improving their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world."

The cable rated a mention after Japanese prime minister Kishida Fumio and US president Joe Biden met on Wednesday, and pledged "to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and world."

A joint statement issued after the meeting declared: "We welcome the announcement of Google's $1 billion investment in digital connectivity for North Pacific Connect, which expands the Pacific Connect Initiative, with NEC, to improve digital communications infrastructure between the United States, Japan and Pacific Island Nations."

The duo explained that the US and Japan "plan to collaborate with like-minded partners to build trusted and more resilient networks and intend to contribute funds to provide subsea cables in the Pacific region, including $16 million towards cable systems for the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu." ®

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