I hate to say it, but WiFi in Japan is terrible. On a recent trip, even the WiFi I could access was horrible compared to what I am used to stateside. Google may have had the same impression, and have announced they’re investing in a sub-marine, trans-pacific cable that will link Japan to the US.
Called FASTER, the aim is to make Internet connections faster. As Google Engineer Urz Holse puts it:
At Google we want our products to be fast and reliable, and that requires a great network infrastructure, whether it’s for the more than a billion Android users or developers building products on Google Cloud Platform. And sometimes the fastest path requires going through an ocean. That’s why we’re investing in FASTER, a new undersea cable that will connect major West Coast cities in the US to two coastal locations in Japan with a design capacity of 60 Tbps (that’s about ten million times faster than your cable modem). Along with our previous investments – UNITY in 2008 and SJC (South-East Asia Japan Cable) in 2011, FASTER will make the internet, well, faster and more reliable for our users in Asia.
Google isn’t the only company getting in on this one, though. They’re joined by NEC, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel. As demand for Internet access grows in Asia, FASTER is another sep to help improve the infrastructure there.
Work on FASTER will begin immediately, and be ready for service in the second quarter of 2016. Maybe I should go back to Kyoto and test it out for myself… you know, for the sake of research.