Asian telecoms firms sign up to Trans-Pacific cable project consortium

Out-Law News | 13 Aug 2014 | 12:41 pm | 1 min. read

Major Asian telecoms operators have joined an international consortium including Google to build and operate a new Trans-Pacific cable system connecting the US to two landing locations in Japan.

System supplier NEC Corporation said the new cable project, dubbed ‘Faster’, will cost around $300 million and is designed to address “intense traffic demands for broadband, mobile, applications, content and enterprise data exchange on the Trans-Pacific route”.

NEC said on 11 August that construction of Faster would begin immediately, with a “ready-for-service” target of the second quarter of 2016.

NEC said Faster will feature the latest high-quality six-fibre-pair cable and optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60 terabytes per second, described by Google as “about 10 million times faster than your cable modem”.

A consortium of six global companies have signed commercial agreements to build the link including China Mobile International, Hong Kong-based China Telecom Global Limited, Singapore’s SingTel, Japan’s KDDI Corporation, Malaysia’s Global Transit and Google.

NEC said the cable system will be landed at Chikura and Shima in Japan and “will feature seamless connectivity to many neighbouring cable systems to extend the capacity beyond Japan to other Asian locations”. Connections in the US will extend the system to major hubs on the US West Coast, NEC said.

The chairman of the Faster executive committee Woohyong Choi said: “Faster is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world. 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.”

SingTel’s vice-president of carrier services Ooi Seng Keat said Faster would be able to transmit an equivalent of 12,000 high-definition films every second across the Pacific Ocean. “It will facilitate the delivery of broadband-heavy applications, video and contents to meet the future needs of consumers and enterprises.” 

Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: “Undersea cables, such as Faster, are the arteries that support the beating heart of the internet and worldwide communications. This consortium illustrates how communications companies, who depend on consumption and availability of data for their revenue, see an advanced and reliable infrastructure as vital to their business. For Google, who are using the internet in ever more innovative and data-heavy ways, this future-looking infrastructure is key.”