Sunday - Sep 24, 2017

Google said to be ready to lay down their own Trans-Pacific Cable

Google said to be ready to lay down their own Trans-Pacific Cable

According to industry reports, search engine giant Google, who continue to diversify their interests across a much broader spectrum in the field of telecommunications, are reported to be considering digging into their investment war chest and pullout a few million dollars to send a cable all the way across the Pacific Ocean.

If indeed the suggestions have some depth, then it will give further evidence to industry speculation that the world’s major players in the field of technology companies have become increasingly interested in controlling the flow of Internet traffic across private networks.

According to a recent statement from Microsoft, the company is currently in negotiations with a number of international bodies to build a cable that will connect China, South Korea and Japan with the United States, and will be used to transfer backup copies of the vast streams of data stored by its Azure cloud-computing service, as well as other cloud-based products. There is little doubt that the most of the interest in investing is for roots that connect North America, where many of the world’s most valuable technology companies are based, and Asia, which has the highest number of Internet connected businesses and individuals.

The almost certain reason for such a major investment, according to industry experts, is that by having their own cable, Google will be able to control both the quality and priority of intercontinental Internet traffic long before it reaches members of the public and the business community, initially in Asia, through connecting the massive situated data centers in Oregon, and similar centers in Japan, and later throughout Asia.

In recent years Google has shown considerable interest in controlling the flow of intercontinental data through their own cables having taken a partial take in a similar project, a $300 million cable that was completed in 2010.

It is normal practice for international telecommunication companies to bundle several fiber optic lines into a single underwater cable, thus being able to share the considerable cost of construction.

According to figures recently released by the industry, major Internet companies such as Google, Facebook Yahoo! among others, as well as giant corporations, banks and international research organisations already account for up to quarter of the world’s international bandwidth, preferring to transmit sensitive information across private networks instead of exposing it to the risks of the public Internet.

In some traffic corridors, particularly those transgressing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, private networks are estimated to account for as much as 40% of the total traffic.

Google, as well as many of their counterparts, will need little convincing that having access to closed-off networks will allow them to efficiently transfer data in total confidentiality and bulk, which will eventually be accessed by consumers through the Internet. In a classic case of big is beautiful, these industry giants will be capable of enjoying a major advantage on their smaller rivals who will be obliged to spend millions of dollars to enjoy the same advantage, and will generally be forced to take the longer and less expensive route.

Having the financial wherewithal to set up such an operation is a privilege that can be enjoyed by very few organisations, with not only the cable costing an estimated $500 million, but also having to establish a framework of servers which would run into the thousands, which need to be housed in totally sterile conditions, will also make for a considerable investment. According to information received from the industry, Microsoft’s investments and overheads in opening and maintaining their data centers makes up a total of one fifth of their overheads.

Currently, the bulk of Google’s current bandwidth capability is used up by their private network, imaginatively entitled “B4” which transfers emails, YouTube videos and other traffic among several huge data centers situated around the world. This existing network, which was established just three years ago, is already reported to be at full capacity carrying more traffic than the public-facing one that Google uses to send its search results and YouTube videos to the Internet, according to an industry white paper released by the company in 2013.

Photo: Global Marine Systems Energy

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