Google and Facebook team up on a direct connection to Asia

A new 120 Tbps undersea cable will expand their reach on the continent.


Google and Facebook are looking to speed up their connection to Hong Kong. According to an announcement today, the two internet giants have teamed up with the Pacific Light Data Communications Company and TE SubCom to build the first direct undersea connection between Los Angeles and Hong Kong. When it is completed in 2018, the 8,000-mile (12,800 km) Pacific Light Cable Network will shuttle 120 terabits of data per second between the two cities and greatly expand each company's reach in Asia.

As Google's Director of Networking Infrastructure Brian Quigley explained in a blog post, the data capacity will beat out the previous trans-Pacific record holder (currently held by another Google-backed fiber cable) and gives the PLCN enough capacity for 80 million people in Hong Kong to have an HD video call with Los Angeles at the same time. It also gives Google Cloud Platform -- which powers services like Spotify and part of iCloud -- the largest network backbone of any public cloud provider. On a user-facing level, the new cable will speed up responsiveness in Google's G Suite apps for users in the Asia-Pacific region, but the wider implication is that a faster connection will give both companies a stronger foothold on the continent and open doors into more developing countries.