Google Collaborates on Historic Subsea Cable Linking South America and Asia-Pacific

Google is set to build a new subsea cable connecting Chile with Australia, via French Polynesia — the first such cable to directly connect South America with Asia-Pacific. While countless other submarine cables traverse the Pacific Ocean, they substantively connect Asia with North America, though some do snake down the Pacific coast from the U.S and Mexico to various landing points in the South of the continent. Indeed, Google completed its first entirely private cable project four years ago with Curie, connecting California with Chile. Google hasn’t given any indication as to when Humboldt will be complete, but rather than going it alone as it has done with other recent cable projects, the internet giant is partnering with Chile’s Desarrollo País and Office des postes et télécommunications de Polynésie française (OPT) to lay the 9,200 mile (14,800KM) cable. Tech companies including Meta, Microsoft and Amazon have also invested in various internet infrastructure programs, and alongside Google the quartet are said to either own or lease around half of all subsea cabling bandwidth.

Tech giant Google is embarking on yet another ambitious subsea cable project, this time connecting Chile with Australia via French Polynesia. This will mark the first direct link between South America and the Asia-Pacific region, setting a new milestone for global internet connectivity.

Dubbed “Humboldt” in honor of the renowned German explorer Alexander von Humboldt, this 9,200-mile cable will join more than a dozen similar projects that Google has invested in over the last 15 years.

The journey began in 2010 with the Unity cable, stretching from California to Japan across the Pacific Ocean, spanning an impressive 6,000 miles. While there are numerous other submarine cables running through this ocean, they mostly connect Asia with North America. However, some do traverse to the south of the continent from the United States and Mexico, reaching various landing points in South America.

In 2016, Google successfully completed its first entirely private cable venture, Curie, linking California with Chile. And now, with the Humboldt cable, Google is once again pushing the boundaries of global connectivity.

There is no confirmed completion date for Humboldt at the moment. But instead of going solo, Google has opted to partner with Chile’s Desarrollo País and Office des postes et télécommunications de Polynésie française (OPT) for this project.

Just like its previous subsea cable projects, Humboldt is expected to significantly improve data transfers around the world. It will also complement Google’s other infrastructure initiatives, such as its local data centers in Chile, providing customers with lower latency. At the same time, this collaboration will benefit the participating countries by strengthening their internet infrastructure.

Google is not the only tech giant investing in global internet infrastructure. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, along with Microsoft and Amazon, are also involved in various subsea cable projects. Together, these four companies are estimated to own or lease half of all subsea cabling bandwidth.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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