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From Cornwall to New York: Google builds innovative undersea infrastructure

29 July 2020

On 28 July, Google announced its plan to build a transatlantic network cable connecting the UK with the US and Spain.

(Image: Google)

The undersea cable will connect Bude in Cornwall to New York and Bilbao, Spain and is expected to be a “significant upgrade to the internet infrastructure connecting the US with Europe,” according to Google

The project, which is expected to be completed by 2022, will join the tech giant’s three other privately-owned transatlantic undersea cables, Curie, Dunant and Equiano. 

According to the company’s estimates, subsea cables are responsible for transporting 98% of international internet traffic. They are highly resilient and capable of working for around 25 years. However, some of them are "going out of service and we need newer, better and more sophisticated technology,” Jayne Stowell, who oversees construction of Google's undersea cable projects, told the BBC.

"It's not enough to have a single cable because any element in the network can break from time to time, and if it's 8,000 metres under the sea, it takes a while to repair," she said.

The company’s latest cable network will be named after Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist who was a pioneer of computer programming and is credited with inventing one of the first linkers. It will be not only Google’s first private subsea cable route to the UK, but it will also mark its first-ever cable route to Spain.

Since worldwide restrictions and lockdowns were first imposed due to COVID-19, internet usage has risen exponentially. With an increased number of people working from home, there is a huge demand for high-speed internet and reliable connectivity.

The new undersea infrastructure “will incorporate novel optical fibre switching that allows for increased reliability in global communications, enabling us to better move traffic around outages. Grace Hopper is the world’s first submarine cable to use this technology, and we look forward to deploying the technology on other systems in the future,” Google concluded.

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