Facebook and Google (in partnership with Pacific Light Data Communication Co. and TE SubCom) have announced plans to build the longest and highest capacity undersea fiber-optic cable between North America and Asia.
Referred to as the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), it stretches 12,800km from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, with an estimated capacity of 120Tbps. This is about twice the capacity of Oregon-to-Japan cable “FASTER”, which will make the PLCN the highest-capacity trans-Pacific internet cable.
The cable’s capacity will be enough to support 80 million concurrent HD video conference calls with Los Angeles, according to Brian Quigley, Google’s director of networking infrastructure.
The PLCN is not the first piece of telecommunications infrastructure that the internet giants have invested in. Last May, Facebook and Microsoft partnered to build a 6,600km cable connecting Virginia and Spain, and PLCN is the sixth undersea cable Google has invested in.
This highlights a growing trend towards internet giants taking control over the infrastructure they depend on.
The PLCN is expected to become operational in 2018.