Just last month, the Internet cable that stretched across the Pacific from the US to Japan went online. Google was already part of that FASTER cable, so called because of its 60 Tbps speed, but soon it will try to outdo itself. This time with different partners. Together with Facebook and China- based Pacific Light Data Communication, a new trans-Pacific cable will be laid between the two continents. And this time, it will be even faster, perhaps the fastest undersea Internet cable crossing the Pacific.
Too bad they won’t call it FASTEST. It’s name, instead, will be Pacific Light Cable Network.While definitely less memorable than others of its kind, it will probably be remembered most for boasting of a speed of 120 Tbps. That’s double the speed of FASTER. That said, as far as absolute speed goes, the trans-Atlantic MAREA cable, which Facebook and Microsoft took part in, earns the crown at 160 Tbps. Then again, that cable doesn’t have to travel that far anyway.
The rapid rise in Internet use has demanded the installation of new lines and architectures, with speeds to match the increasing demand for high-speed Internet. This time, however, such construction is no longer the sole domain of telecommunications companies. Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and even Amazon, have large stakes in such an enterprise and have become more deeply involved in the business, striking up partnerships even with rivals.
The PLCN will be composed of five pairs of fiber lines, with each pair putting out 24 Tbps at maximum. Google, as well as the other companies involved, will each have a pair for themselves.
The cable will stretch over a total of 12,800 km, with end points located at Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Construction is scheduled to start in 2018 and is estimated to cost no $400 billion.