Announced on Monday, a consortium comprising of Google and other five companies have signed commercial agreements to build and operate FASTER, a new Trans-Pacific cable system. The FASTER cable system will connect the US West Coast to Chikura and Shima in Japan. The FASTER cable system is estimated to cost approximately USD $300 million.
FASTER cable system is designed with 6 fiber pairs and 100Gb/s x 100 wavelengths optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60Tb/s.
The FASTER consortium is comprised of China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and SingTel. Except for the two Chinese members, the other fours are all members of the Unity consortium. Unity is another US$300 million trans-pacific cable ready in service in April 2010.
Unity marks Google's first investment in the telecom carriers' game on global submarine cable infrastructure. It is said, according to the Unity C&MA, Google was then restricted to use the capacity on Unity for their own business and was not permitted to sell it in the market. Although the telecom market was and is open in the US, Google struggled for couple of years to settle the US landing license for Unity. The FASTER consortium didn't mentioned the US landing points in the announcement.
Besides Unity and FASTER, Google invested in the South-East Asia Japan Cable System(SJC) which was ready in service in June 2013.
Interestingly, as AAE-1 and SEA-ME-WE 5 competing in the Asia-Africa-Europe route, FASTER and NCP may compete in the trans-pacific route.