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Google announces plan to build new transatlantic subsea cable between the US, the UK and Spain

Google has announced a plan to build a new, 3,915-mile-long transatlantic subsea cable between the US, the UK and Spain to meet growing connectivity demands.

The fibre-optic link — which is expected to be completed in 2022 — will be Google’s first privately-owned connection between the US and the UK. 

When operational, it will provide around 340–350 Terabytes per second of capacity — the equivalent of some 17.5 million people all streaming 4K videos simultaneously. 

The tech firm has named the cable after the American computer scientist and naval rear admiral Grace Hopper, who created one of the first so-called ‘linker’ programs.

Linkers are computer system programs that connect multiple object files, converting them into a library, executable or larger object file.

The Grace Hopper cable will increase network traffic capacity and help to drive many of Google’s core services — including Gmail, Google Cloud and the relatively new video communications platform, Meet, which was launched in 2017.

The link will join Google’s existing private cables — Curie, Dunant and Equiano — on the ocean floor, where 98 over cent of the world’s internet traffic flows. 

Curie runs along the US Pacific Coast from California to Chile, while Dunant links Virginia with France and Equiano will link Portugal with Nigeria and South Africa.

The Curie project will be the first time that Google has invested in a subsea cable route to Spain — a connection which is intended to more closely integrate the firm’s upcoming cloud region in Madrid with its global infrastructure.

The cable — which will have end-points in New York, Bude in northeast Cornwall and Bilbao in northern Spain — will contain 16 fibre pairs, along with a novel optical fibre switching architecture to better move internet traffic around local outages.

The design is said will also enable lower latency and increased network resilience. 

The addition, a Google spokesperson said, represents a ‘significant upgrade to the internet infrastructure connecting the US with Europe.’

‘Private subsea cables allow us to plan effectively for the future capacity needs of our customers and users around the world,’ said Google Global Network vice president Bikash Koley.

They also, he continued, ‘add a layer of security beyond what’s available over the public internet.’

The new connection is being laid with the help of subsea cable provider SubCom, of Eatontown, New Jersey. 

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