Google to build Transatlantic subsea cable

Created July 29, 2020
News and Business

Google says it plans to build a new subsea cable linking the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain. Once commissioned, the Grace Hopper cable will be one of the first new cables to connect the US and UK since 2003, increasing capacity on this busy global crossroads and powering Google services like Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud. It also marks Google’s first investment in a private subsea cable route to the UK, and its first-ever route to Spain.

The Spanish landing point will more tightly integrate the upcoming Google Cloud region in Madrid into our global infrastructure. The Grace Hopper cable will be equipped with 16 fibre pairs, which the company says is a significant upgrade to the internet infrastructure connecting the US with Europe. A contract to build the cable was signed earlier this year with Eatontown, N.J.-based subsea cable provider, SubCom, and the project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Google says the Grace Hopper cable will incorporate novel optical fibre switching that allows for increased reliability in global communications, enabling it to better move traffic around outages. Google and SubCom engineers collaborated on incorporating the switching architecture into the system and claims that Grace Hopper is the world’s first submarine cable to use this technology, though it plans to deploy the technology on other systems in the future.

This cable is named for computer science pioneer Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906–1992), best known for her work on one of the first linkers (compilers), which was critical in the development of the COBOL programming language.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.