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October 13, 2016updated 14 Oct 2016 9:13am

Facebook and Google partner to co-build high speed cable across the Pacific

Plus details of the five submarine cables linking the UK and the US

By Hannah Williams

TE SubCom, TE Connectivity Ltd, along with Facebook, Google and PLDC (Pacific Light Data Communication Co. Ltd), announced plans to co-build a trans-pacific cable to boost  data transfer by 120 terabits per second.

Known as the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) it is a 12,800km transpacific submarine cable system that will provide the first direct undersea route between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, California (USA) with ultra-high capacity transmission.

The PLCN, which is scheduled for commercial launch in summer of 2018, will include TE SubCom’s C+L technology, a major step forward in available cable transmission capacity that effectively doubles that available bandwidth and capacity per fibre pair over a traditional C-band-only designed system.

google-undersea-cables-2016-2Once completed, the PLCN will be the highest-capacity transpacific route.

Mr.Wei Junkang, Chairman of PLDC said: “PLCN will be among the lowest-latency fiber optic routes between Hong Kong and the U.S. and the first to connect directly using ultra-high-capacity transmission.

“It is certainly gratifying that global technology companies like Google and Facebook have become co-investors in PLCN. It is a strong signal that PLCN will be trusted to address the capacity needs for internet and international communications services throughout the Pacific Rim. We envision this deployment as the initial step in PLDC’s construction of a global network.”

CableFive cables which link the UK and USA

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  • Hibernia Atlantic (Submarine fiber optic cable) Landing points from Coleraine-UK, Dublin-Ireland, Halifax-Canada, Lynn-USA to Southport-UK. Its network provides service from 2.5Gbits to 100Gbits wavelength.
  • Tata TGN-Atlantic (Submarine telecommunications cable) Landing points from Highbride-UK to New Jersey-USA. Its total length is reaches over 12, 000km, with each of the four fibers supporting 64 10 Gbits wavelengths.
  • Apollo ( Optical submarine communications cable) Landing points from Bude-UK, France, New Jersey-USA to New York-USA. Its total length is over 13,000km.
  • TAT-14 (Transatlantic fiber optic cable system) Landing points from Denmark, Bude-UK, Netherlands, New Jersey-USA, Germany, France to New Jersey-USA. Its total length is over 15,000km. With each of its four fibers carring 16 wavelengths in one direction.
  • Atlantic Crossing-1 (Private non-TAT cable system) Landing points from Netherlands, New York-USA, Germany and Whitesands Bay-UK. Its total length is 14,000km, with a design capacity of 40Gbits.

Aaron Stucki, President of TE SubCom said: “PLCN will showcase the ultra-high-capacity designs and industry-leading wet plant technologies that have enabled TE SubCom to become the manufacturing partner of choice for the world’s most advanced undersea networks.”

Facebook previously partnered with Microsoft connecting USA and Europe with its high-capacity transatlantic cable.

For Google, this is its sixth submarine cable in which it has taken ownership stake. It joins the ranks of the Unity, SJC, Faster, Monet and Tannat projects.


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