Google-backed Unity cable lands in Japan

Construction of the undersea cable is almost complete ahead of a launch next year

The Unity fiber-optic cable, a new trans-Pacific undersea cable partly backed by Google, has landed in Japan, marking an important step toward the launch of service.

The US$300 million cable runs between Los Angeles and Chikura on the east coast of Japan and will be capable of transferring data at 4.8 terabits per second. It is scheduled to go into service sometime in the first three months of next year.

The landing in Japan marks the penultimate step in cable laying. For the past two months two ships have been laying out the cable from a midpoint in the Pacific to each of the two landing points. The cable was joined in the middle of the Pacific on Oct. 30 and a single splice remains, off the Japanese coast, before testing can begin. The final splice is scheduled for sometime in the next two weeks.

The Pacific Ocean is already crossed by several undersea cables, although the Unity cable will have one of the highest capacities. Its construction has attracted attention because of an investment by Google. Undersea cables are typically built by carriers and leased to service providers, but Google's increasing bandwidth requirements pushed the company to directly invest in Unity.

The other investors are India's Bharti Airtel, Malaysia's Global Transit, Japan's KDDI, Singapore's SingTel and Hong Kong's Pacnet.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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