Google today revealed plans for a new private 6,300 subsea cable linking the UK and US, with a branch to Spain — to be completed by 2022.
The “Grace Hopper” cable will be equipped with 16 fibre pairs, which Google described as a “significant upgrade” to current internet infrastructure connecting the US with Europe. It will have a substantial 340-350 Tbps capacity.
Google dubbed it the first major new direct link between the US and UK since 2003. (The US and Spain were linked by the 200 Tbps MAREA cable in 2018: a joint project between Facebook (25%), Microsoft (25%), and Spain’s Telefónica (50%)
The cable will be 100% owned by Google.
Others hoping for capacity may be out of luck: “Google is not a telco and is not in the business of selling capacity”, the company sniffed when asked by Computer Business Review: “The capacity is designated primarily for use by Google’s internal products and services such as Meet, Gmail, Search and for Google Cloud customers”,
The company added: “We do, however, share capacity with other external partners on a case by case basis”. The cable is being manufactured and laid by turn-key SubCom. (Google declined to reveal a Capex figure, when asked).
A SubCom animation showing how subsea laying is done.
The company described the capacity as “equivalent to approximately 17.5 million people streaming 4K videos concurrently”.
Google said it will be able to dynamically route fibre pairs between the US, UK and Spain, using new switching technology that will allow it to mitigate the impact of any outages: “Google and SubCom engineers collaborated on incorporating this innovative switching architecture into the system. Grace Hopper is the world’s first submarine cable to use this technology,” the two said.
The cable is named for computer science pioneer Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906–1992), best known for her work on one of the first linkers (compilers), which was critical in the development of the COBOL programming language.