$1b Undersea Cable to Connect Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam

Google and Federal funding to build advanced new internet network.

Source : Google Pacific Connect Initiative

May 19, 2024

Author : Alex Bustillos

The Internet is the lifeblood of today's population. Hawai'i is getting a shot in the arm, thanks to Google's $1 billion investment in upgrading the existing fiber-optic internet cable which will help to improve connectivity in the area. Did you know that subsea cables are helping to transport 99% of the global data traffic?

But subsea links do not just help you stream your Netflix shows faster but also help to usher in economic and productivity gains. Research has shown that Google's network infrastructure in Japan has helped the country add $400 million in GDP in the last decade alone.

Currently, Hawaii's Internet is based on three undersea cables, two of which are nearing its operational demise. And in 2024 and beyond, if you don't have the Internet, you will miss out on opportunities. To avoid this, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, leader of Connect K?kou, Hawai?i's high-speed internet initiative, and Benji Robinson, director of Asia Pacific Network Planning and Acquisition for Google, announced this new investment from the tech giant.

These two new cables, which have been christened Proa and Taihei, will be constructed by the Japanese firm NEC Corp.

Proa cables will connect the Continental US, Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. The new cables are set to be completed by 2026. Meanwhile, the Taihei cables will connect the US to Japan via Hawaii.

Upon completion, Google's Tabua cables will help connect the US to Fiji and Australia, and will also add Hawai'i to its route. These cables are being built by SubCom.

Once both cables become operational, they will offer better connectivity across the transpacific between the continental US and Takahagi, Japan, while also reducing latency for those inhabiting the Pacific islands.

Sylvia Luke, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, commented, "In partnership with Governor Green's administration, Hawaii's Connect Kakou initiative is working to ensure people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed Internet. The Pacific Connect initiative perfectly complements our planned efforts."

According to Reuters, Google would also be partnering with several tech companies including Japanese organizations like KDDI, Arteria Networks, and Philipines-based Citadel Pacific.

This project has also garnered support from the American and Japanese governments alike. President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio explained in a joint statement that the two countries will work as "like-minded partners" to build a robust network of subsea cables that will enhance connectivity in the region. They will also contribute around $16 million to provide cable systems for the micronations of Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu.

The Pacific has been an infrastructural and diplomatic battleground between China and the US. President Biden has been constantly pushing to seek America's dominance over the telecommunication sector, as it plays an integral role in the transfer of vital data.

To strengthen the domestic infrastructure to support the upgraded Internet connectivity via the new Google investment, federal funding of $320 million has been allocated for the state of Hawai'i. This funding will help to bring digital equity and literacy to the island state.

Google isn't just investing in creating better international connectivity but is also working to strengthen terrestrial network infrastructure. Titanium, Google's cloud data centers is using advanced chips and processor to increase computation and processing speed from cloud instances.

Category : Federal Government International Investment in Infrastructure Monopolization

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