Would Google Cable Affect Bandwidth Costs?

The telecom research firm TeleGeography has posted data on the market for trans-Pacific submarine communications cable, providing some context for reports that Google is planning to invest in a multi-terabit Pacific cable. Some interesting trends:

  • Trans-Pacific bandwidth demand has soared in recent years, growing 41% between mid-2006 and mid-2007.
  • Planned upgrades and new cables will boost lit trans-Pacific submarine cable capacity by 120% to 7.2Tbps by the end of 2008.
  • The lease price of a 10Gbps wavelength circuit across the Pacific is more than ten times greater than comparable capacity across the Atlantic.

If Google invests in additional trans-Pacific capacity, it could accelerate a major shift in pricing for bandwidth to Asia, according to TeleGeography analyst Alan Mauldin. “In the face of so many new cables, the trans-Pacific market is in danger of a price collapse similar to that which has plagued trans-Atlantic cable operators,” said Mauldin.

But what’s bad for telecom cable operators maybe good for content providers, reducing the cost of serving up bandwidth-intensive files and applications to Asia.

We also applaud the TeleGeography staff for their headline: “Yarrr! Google enters the trans-Pacific submarine cable market.” While the item is dated Sept. 24, it was clearly written in the spirit of last week’s annual Talk Like A Pirate Day.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.