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Pacific Ocean Set for Internet “Channel Tunnel”

Japanese tech superpower, NEC, is hitting the high seas.

But this isn’t some exotic cruise… it’s an incredible mission to link millions of internet users like never before.

The company just announced that it will spearhead the construction of a massive undersea cable in the Pacific Ocean that will connect the U.S. West Coast with Japan at unprecedented speed.

The high-tech cable is called “FASTER” – and will do exactly as the name says, delivering a mind-boggling data speed of 60 terabytes per second.

To put that in perspective, there are 1,000 megabytes in a gigabyte and 1,000 gigabytes in a terabyte. A 60-terabyte speed would be able to blast 2,000 high-definition videos through cyberspace per second, and will dwarf the maximum internet speeds in the United States and Europe.

The rationale for such a bold project is logical, given that it involves connecting some major cities on both sides of the Pacific…

Taking Technology to the Deep, Blue Sea

According to FASTER Chairman, Woohyong Choi, the Trans-Pacific channel between the United States and Japan is “one of the longest routes in the world.”

As such, it’s no surprise that “the FASTER cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the Trans-Pacific route.”

That’s essential, given the ever-growing amount of web traffic and the increased strain placed on the web infrastructure.

Indeed, NEC says FASTER is designed “to address the intense traffic demands for broadband, mobile, applications, content, and enterprise data exchange on the Trans-Pacific route.”

The cost for such a huge undertaking?

Well, considering the length and significant engineering and construction work involved, you might be surprised to learn that the estimated bill is only $300 million.

That cost will be split between a consortium of five powerhouse technology companies – Google (GOOG), KDDI (KDDIY), Japan’s second-largest telecom carrier, Chinese heavyweights, China Mobile (CHL) and China Telecom (CHA), Singapore Telecommunications (Singapore: Z74), and Global Transit.

A Newer, “Faster” U.S.-Japan Relationship

The six companies have signed commercial contracts with system supplier, NEC to build the cable, which will land in Chikura and Shima in Japan.

On the Japanese side, the FASTER’s capability will stretch across Japan and into other Asian locations, while it will stretch to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland on the U.S. side.

NEC is a veteran of such huge web infrastructure projects, having already constructed over 200,000 kilometers of submarine cables across the world.

The work will begin immediately, and the cable is set to begin operating in the second quarter of 2016.

Martin Denholm

Martin Denholm

, Managing Editor

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