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globalEDGE Blog: A New Cable Seeks to Further Connect the United States and China

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Two of the world's most valuable technology companies, Facebook and Alphabet (by means of its subsidiary Google), are working with TE Subsea Communications (TE SubCom) and Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC, a subsidiary of China Soft Power Technology) to construct the world's fastest trans-Pacific submarine cable. The 12,800 kilometer (8,000 miles) submarine cable will enable a speed of 120 Terabits per second and connect the United States and China by way of two major cities: Los Angeles and Hong Kong (where PLDC is based). The cable, known as the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), will utilize fiber-optic technology to create the fastest possible telecommunication channel, covering twice the speed of the current-fastest undersea cable. The goal of the PLCN is to increase bandwidth and reduce connection delays in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Google, the cable should be built and functioning by 2018.

 

Large-scale submarine cables backed by corporations are not uncommon—in fact, Google already has stakes in five other such cables. A few months ago, Facebook and Microsoft agreed to build a trans-Atlantic cable that will be faster in speed but shorter in length than the PLCN, stretching from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain. Amazon has similarly invested in such cables. The advantages presented to multinational corporations by these cables are numerous. Increased bandwidth and speed means faster transactions, more space for cloud computing, and significantly increased access to and for global customers. Plus, co-ownership in these cables guarantees special privileges for the involved corporations. According to Google, each company that is invested in constructing the PLCN will have their own fiber pair from the cable. The PLCN consists of five fiber pairs, each capable of a speed of 24 Terabits per second. Ownership in these singular fiber pairs will allow these corporations to centralize their traffic and keep transmitted information private and controlled as necessary. This way, they can immensely expand their reach to global consumers.

 

The PLCN and other undersea cables are aggrandizing the reach of the Internet and broadening international markets at an unprecedented rate. These cables ensure that global e-commerce and business will be both faster and bigger than ever before.

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