Google helps build 'Faster' cable under Pacific Ocean

California coastline The cable will connect the US west coast with Japan

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Google and five other large companies are teaming up to build a cable under the Pacific Ocean that will deliver incredibly fast internet speeds.

The cable, dubbed Faster, will connect the US with Japan and cost about $300m (£179m; 225m euros), the consortium said.

The trans-Pacific fibre cable would be capable of handling 60 terabytes per second - enough to send more than 2,000 uncompressed HD films a second.

The cable will be operational by 2016.

Google is working with a host of Asian telecoms giants - China Mobile, China Telecom, Global Transit, KDDI, and SingTel.

'One of longest routes in world'

"Faster is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world," said Woohyong Choi, chairman of the consortium's executive committee. "These cables collectively form an important infrastructure that helps run global internet and communications.

"The Faster cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world."

The cable will connect Chikura and Shima in Japan to the major hubs on the west coast of the US - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

It is made up of six fibre-pairs, each capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths, each at 100 gigabits per second.

Submarine cables are integral to the structure of how the world wide web works. In 2008, communications between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia were seriously disrupted after submarine cables were severed near the Alexandria cable station in Egypt. Sixty-five percent of net traffic to India was down at the time.

And KDDI, Japan's second-largest telecoms operator, had to do extensive work to repair undersea cables damaged in the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Google already offers high-speed internet access directly in the US through its Fiber service, with customers being offered speeds of 1Gbps in cities like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas.

But the speeds from the new Faster cable far surpass anything consumers can access in most of the US and Europe, though internet speeds are generally much faster in Asia - South Korea wants to see citizens equipped with 1Gbps connections by 2017, for example.

The fastest widely-available speed of broadband to home users in the UK is 152Mbps. There are 1,000 megabits in one gigabit - and 1,000 gigabits in one terabit - of data transmitted.

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