June 27, 2013, 7:02 AM — An 8,900 kilometer undersea fiber cable system in Asia, backed by a consortium including Google, China Telecom, NEC and a host of local telecommunications companies, went live Thursday.
The Southeast Asia-Japan Cable (SJC) system has an initial capacity of 28Tbps and connects China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Brunei with Japan and its link to transpacific fiber that runs to the U.S. The project will provide the lowest latency connection from Singapore to Los Angeles, said its main supplier, Japan's NEC.
The project was first announced in 2009 and construction started in April of 2011. Total costs were about US$400 million. NEC said the cable system consists of six fiber pairs that can carry the equivalent of 3 million HD video streams at the same time.
The majority of the investors in the project are large telecommunications providers and mobile operators that operate in the countries that were connected. In addition to China Telecom, these include China Mobile, Hong Kong's Donghwa Telecom, Globe in the Philippines, SingTel, and TOT in Thailand.
Google is an exception. Its share in the project could be used to link up its three massive new Asian data centers and connect them to its U.S. presence. In September 2011, Google acquired 15 hectares (150,000 square meters) in Taiwan to construct a facility that is to go live this year. It also said it acquired smaller plots in Hong Kong and Singapore that month to build data centers in those countries as well.
The new bandwidth could also be used to one day expand its service provider business. In the U.S., Google has recently launched its Google Fiber service in several towns, which offers 1Gbps Internet as well as TV packages. The online giant purchased large amounts of "dark," or unused fiber in the U.S. over the last decade.
The fiber project may also expand to link to Thailand, bringing its total length to 9,700 kilometers.