Google To Lay Asia-Pacific To South America Humboldt Undersea Cable
There are already existing submarine cables across the Pacific Ocean that connect Asia and North America, including the Southern Cross Next, as well as upcoming lines like the Hawaiki Nui. Furthermore, lines like Google’s first-ever private cable, Curie, already connect downward from California to Chile.
But, according to Google, Humboldt will interconnect the cables that comprise the South Pacific Connect initiative, which was announced in October, and add on to link French Polynesia to Chile, thus creating a more direct route from Australia to South America.
|Submarine Cable Map. Image Credits: SubmarineCableMap.com
Desarrollo Pais and Singapore-based BW Digital subsidiary H2 Cable issued a request for proposals to build the cable in August of 2022. The planned pipeline route connected Valparaiso, Chile, to Sydney, Australia, with potential branching to Chile's Juan Fernandez archipelago, Easter Island, New Zealand, and internet-starved Antarctica.
As with its other similar endeavors, Humboldt is designed to improve data transfers around the world, working in tandem with Google’s other infrastructure projects, including local data centers on the ground in Chile — it’s all about promising its customers lower latency, while the countries themselves benefit from a more robust internet infrastructure.
Tech companies including Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon have also invested in various internet infrastructure programs, and alongside Google, the quartet is said to either own or lease around half of all subsea cabling bandwidth.
"A direct fiber optic network link between South America and the Asia-Pacific region has been an ambition of the Chilean government since 2016, and we’re partnering to turn this vision into reality," says Google in its post.
According to Desarollo Pais, the $400 million cable will "position Chile as the gateway to Latin America for data transport from Asia Pacific."
President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia said the Humboldt project would "continue advancing French Polynesia's digital economy and keep Tahiti on the cutting edge of innovation."
Desarrollo Pais general manager Patricio Rey Sommer revealed the project is now entering the materialization phase, after years of "dedicated work." It is slated for completion in 2026.
The US State Department commented of the project: "The Humboldt cable represents a concrete example of the potential for greater economic cooperation in the Americas."
It added that The Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) plans to contribute $15 million "to enable access to fast, secure, interoperable, and reliable internet connectivity" in several unnamed Pacific Island countries.
"This is one way that the United States government is engaging with US companies to enable the expansion of sustainable and reliable internet infrastructure," it said.
The US does face some competition when it comes to assisting Pacific nations in building infrastructure. In May 2022, China extended offers to help South Pacific nations improve their network infrastructure using its homegrown technologies.
While the help from China may be welcomed by some, others, like the former president of the Federated States of Micronesia would prefer to do without.
H2 Cable joined the Humboldt consortium in December 2021 and issued a request for proposals (RFP) along with Desarrollo Pais to begin construction of the cable in August 2022. However, neither H2 nor BW Digital are mentioned in the Google blog post, the Chilean government release or a separate release from the US State Department praising the Google announcement.
|NCS Announces Partnership with Google Cloud to Accelerate Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific
NCS and Google Cloud announced today their strategic partnership to accelerate AI-led transformation for public and private sector organizations across Singapore, Australia, and the wider ...
|Google Doodle Honors World Natural Heritage Of Ha Long Bay
The Vietnamese homepage of tech giant Google on December 17 featured a doodle of Ha Long Bay to mark the 29th anniversary of the United ...
|Hanoi's Needy School Chose to Pilot Google's Smart Classroom Model
Google chose to pilot smart classrooms at schools with poor facilities in Hanoi.