Google Announces $1 bn Investment in U.S.-Japan Subsea Cables

In a bid to enhance digital connectivity between the United States and Japan, Google, the Alphabet-owned firm, has unveiled plans to invest $1 billion in the development of two new subsea cables. The announcement, made on Wednesday, coincides with a visit by the Japanese Prime Minister, aiming to bolster ties between the two nations.

Google Investment in U.S.-Japan Subsea Cables
@Google Cloud

Brian Quigley, VP, Global Network Infrastructure, Google Cloud, in a blog post, said two subsea cables, named Proa and Taihei, are poised to significantly improve connectivity not only between the U.S. and Japan but also among multiple Pacific island countries and territories.

The Proa subsea cable, developed by NEC, will forge a vital link between Japan, the CNMI, and Guam, drawing inspiration from the traditional sailing canoes of the Marianas. Additionally, Google plans to extend the NEC cable system Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. (TPU) to the CNMI, further enhancing connectivity and resilience in the region. Proa and TPU will establish a new route connecting the continental U.S. and Shima, Japan. NEC is the leader in subsea cables market.

Moreover, the deployment of subsea cables is expected to generate economic and productivity gains in the regions they serve. Research report from Analysys Mason said that Google’s network infrastructure investments have contributed over $400 million to Japan’s GDP over the past decade, underscoring the potential for digital connectivity to drive economic growth and innovation.

A joint statement issued by the United States and Japan underscored their commitment to collaborating with like-minded partners to construct reliable and resilient networks, with plans to allocate funds for subsea cables in the Pacific region.

United States President Joe Biden’s administration has prioritized U.S. dominance in telecommunications, viewing the industry as a crucial national security concern due to its control over global information flows, Reuters news report said.

Last year, the U.S. pledged joint funding for two undersea cables, to be constructed by Google, linking the U.S. territory of Guam with hubs in Fiji and French Polynesia, extending further to remote Pacific Islands.

According to Google, the Proa subsea cable will establish connections between the U.S., Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam, while the Taihei subsea cable will link the U.S., Japan, and Hawaii. Additionally, Google has committed to financing the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, CNMI, and Guam.

In its efforts to enhance digital connectivity in the region, Google will collaborate with Japanese-based companies such as KDDI and Arteria Networks, as well as Philippines-based Citadel Pacific and CNMI stakeholders. This collaborative approach underscores Google’s commitment to fostering robust digital infrastructure and connectivity across the Pacific region.

Baburajan Kizhakedath