9,000 Kilometers, 60Tbps

The undersea optic cable connecting Japan and the US running 9,000 kilometers from Oregon all the way to the east coast of Japan is now live!

The project, which was first announced in 2014, is the highest capacity underwater fibre optic cable ever built. It has appropriately been named “FASTER,” and rightly so—the cable will be delivering data across the Pacific at speeds of up to 60 Terabits per second (Tbps). "From the very beginning of the project, we repeatedly said to each other, 'faster, Faster and FASTER', and at one point it became the project name, and today it becomes a reality," said Hiromitsu Todokoro, chairman of the FASTER management committee.

Google is being allocated 10Tbps of this bandwidth. "This is especially exciting, as we prepare to launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo later this year," Google's Alan Chin-Lun Cheung wrote. "Dedicated bandwidth to this region results in faster data transfers and reduced latency as GCP customers deliver their applications and information to customers around the globe."

Watch how FASTER was laid out across the Pacific in this video:

Preparing for the Data-Heavy Future

FASTER hopes to address the increasing broadband traffic between the two continents, which is estimated to get heavier in the future, and also aims to cater to other service providers in Asia. It took six companies to make this feat possible: Google, Global Transit, China Telecom Global, Singtel, China Mobile International, and KDDI. Building the cable itself required the services of another party, Japanese IT company NEC Corporation. "The cable system ... will help spur innovation on both sides of the Pacific to simulate the growth of the digital economy," said Singtel vice president Ooi Seng Keat.

Long-range undersea cables seem to be turning into the new common and are stretching farther and farther with ever-competing bandwidths, with the recent construction of Facebook and Microsoft’s 4,000-mile cable across the Atlantic, and another two by…yep, Google again.  

And at the dawn of the quantum computer age, it seems only fitting that internet service providers get a head start.

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