Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 10 News List

Google, Facebook to build web cable from LA to HK

HIGH-CAPACITY:The cable is expected to be able to host 80 million high-definition video conference calls simultaneously between Los Angeles and Hong Kong


Google and Facebook Inc on Wednesday announced plans to work with a subsidiary of China Soft Power Technology Holdings Ltd (中國軟實力科技集團) to connect Los Angeles and Hong Kong with a high-capacity Internet cable.

The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will stretch 12,800km, crossing beneath the Pacific Ocean in a first-of-its-kind direct connection between the two locations, according to companies involved with the project.

The PLCN is expected to handle about 120 terabytes of data per second, enough capacity to enable 80 million high-definition video conference calls simultaneously between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, Google network infrastructure director Brian Quigley said.

Google and Facebook are working with Pacific Light Data Communication Co (太平洋光纜數據通訊) and with undersea communications technology firm TE SubCom on the cable, which is scheduled to be ready in the middle of 2018, according to a joint release.

“PLCN will be among the lowest-latency fiber optic routes between Hong Kong and the US, and the first to connect directly using ultra-high-capacity transmission,” PLDC chairman Wei Junkang (魏俊江) said.

“It is certainly gratifying that global technology companies like Google and Facebook have become coinvestors in PLCN,” Wei said.

Most Pacific subsea cables stretch from the US to Japan, according to Facebook vice president of network engineering Najam Ahmad.

“As the number of people using Facebook apps and services continues to grow in the region, PLCN will help further connect Asia and our data centers in the US,” Ahmad said.

“This new direct route will give us more diversity and resiliency in the Pacific,” Ahmed added.

Lifestyles increasingly centered on access to cloud-based online services as well as to video, photographs, and other content on the Internet have increased the need for infrastructure capable of quickly and efficiently moving digital data.

PLCN will be the sixth submarine cable in which Google has an ownership stake, Quigley said.

The US Internet giant claimed to have the “largest network backbone of any public cloud provider.”

Microsoft Corp and Facebook earlier this year teamed together to lay a high-speed Internet cable across the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The subsea “MAREA” cable is expected to be completed by late next year, with the aim of meeting growing demand by the tech companies’ customers for fast, reliable data connections.

MAREA is expected to have a capacity of about 160 terabytes per second of data, according to the companies.

The 6,600km cable system will also be the first connecting the US and southern Europe, running from northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, Microsoft and Facebook said.

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