Google (GOOG) confirmed today that it will partner with five other companies in building an undersea communications cable across the Pacific, which could provide high-speed connectivity to new Google data centers in Asia. Telecom analysts said the move marked the first time an Internet company has invested in a cable spanning an ocean. The 6,200-mile cable will cost about $300 million and is being funded by a consortium including Google, telecommunications companies Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, KDDI Corp., Pancet and SingTel.
The cable, which will be completed in 2010, will address strong growth in data and Internet traffic between Asia and the U.S., but could also supply Google with connectivity to new data centers in Asia. In recent months there have been reports that Google has been scouting locations around the Pacific Rim for new facilities. There are signs that the search giant is pitting Asian governments against one another in a battle for a major data center project.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia announced last month that Google is interested in building a data center in Malaysia. The announcement came just days after the economic minister in Taiwan said Google is "leaning toward" developing a major data center in Taiwan. Various other reports suggest Google has also scouted locations in Japan, South Korea, India and even Vietnam (which just announced its first data center).
Francois Sterin, Google's Manager for Network Acquisition, wrote about the initiative on the Google blog. "If you're wondering whether we're going into the undersea cable business, the answer is no," Sterin wrote. "We're not competing with telecom providers, but the volume of data we need to move around the world has grown to the point where in some cases we've exceeded the ability traditional players can offer. Our partnership with these companies is just another step in ensuring that we're delivering the best possible experience to people around the world."
The new Trans