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Google jumps into undersea cable

Marketplace Staff Feb 26, 2008

Google jumps into undersea cable

Marketplace Staff Feb 26, 2008


Kai Ryssdal: Yes, it’s true: Google really does want to take over the world — or at least anything even remotely related to the Internet.

Google’s partnering with five Asian telecommunications firms to build an undersea broadband cable connecting the U.S. with Japan.

Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler has the details.

Jeff Tyler: Let’s say you’re in the U.S. and you want to download a cartoon from Japan. Video files like that use up a lot of bandwidth and because the West Coast is the world capital of e-commerce, companies worry that increased traffic with Asia could cause an Internet traffic jam.

High-tech analyst Gary Arlen says Google doesn’t want to be at the mercy of overburdened telecom companies.

Gary Arlen: Google wants to make sure it has some prioritization of getting its material into this new global information economy.

So the Unity consortium will build a fiber-optic cable stretching 6,000 miles under the Pacific Ocean. The $300 million price tag will be shared by Unity, which includes companies from India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The project is expected to be completed by 2010. It will increase bandwidth capacity by 20 percent.

Rob Enderle is a technology industry analyst.

Rob Enderle: The need for bandwidth has been going up dramatically and the fear is the cost to get access to that bandwidth is also going to go up dramatically and Google doesn’t want to have those costs impact them.

The Unity consortium isn’t the only one investing in transpacific cables. Verizon and AT&T both have projects in the works, but they won’t have Google as a client, since it will be self-sufficient.

While Google says that it’s not getting into the undersea cable business, observers say it already is.

It may not sell space to third parties, but just by entering the waters, Google is making waves in the industry.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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