Google announced Wednesday its new subsea cable, Topaz, the first-ever fiber cable to connect Canada and Asia, and the first trans-Pacific fiber cable to land on the West Coast of Canada, connecting Vancouver to Japan. The Topaz cable system is expect to be ready for service in 2023.

Once complete, Topaz will run from Vancouver to the small town of Port Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and across the Pacific Ocean to the prefectures of Mie and Ibaraki in Japan. The Topaz cable system will not only deliver low-latency for the transpacific route, but also increasing capacity to the region for a variety of network operators in both Japan and Canada. 

Topaz cable map
Topaz cable map


The Topaz cable system will house 16 fiber pairs, for a total capacity of 240Tbps. It includes support for Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS), an efficient and software-defined way to carve up the spectrum on an optical fiber pair for flexibility in routing and advanced resilience. 

Google is spearheading construction of the project, joined by a number of local partners in Japan and Canada to deliver the full Topaz subsea cable system. Google said they would exchange fiber pairs with on Topaz cable system with partners who have systems along similar routes. This is a longstanding practice in the industry that strengthens the intercontinental network lattice for network operators, for Google, and for users around the world.

The Topaz cable is built alongside the traditional territories of the Hupacasath, Maa-nulth, and Tseshaht. Google has consulted with and partnered with these First Nations every step of the way. 

The Topaz cable system will be landed at an existing cable landing site in Port Alberni, which was the cable landing station for the decommissioned Commonwealth Pacific Cable System (COMPAC), a undersea copper cable linking Vancouver with Honolulu (United States), Sydney (Australia), and Auckland (New Zealand). The cable landing station has been upgraded to fit the needs of modern fiber optics and will house the eastern end of the Topaz cable. Shaw Communications, a partner of Google Canada, provides the cable landing services for the Topaz project. Shaw Communications builds the cable landing facility right next to the entrance to Canal Beach waterfront park in Port Alberni.

Although newly announced, the Topaz project has been implemented for couple of years.

According to the Government of Canada, the Canadian environmental impact assessment for the Topaz project was completed in June 2021 by the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada which has determined that the Topaz project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The cable landing and laying in Port Alberni was completed in August 2021 with France based Orange Marine’s Cable Ship Rene Descartes. Then, it continued laying cable to Japan.

The Topaz cable system is expect to be ready for service in 2023.

Google has announced investments in 20 subsea cable projects, including its private cables Curie, Dunant, Equiano, Firmina and Grace Hopper, and consortium cables like Blue, Echo, Havfrue and Raman — all connecting 29 cloud regions, 88 zones, 146 network edge locations across more than 200 countries and territories. Learn more here about the complete list of Google's subsea cable investments.