When it first started this project, many thought Google didn’t really mean it or that their efforts would be absorbed into a larger consortium. In the end though, it turned out they were quite serious, and their efforts came to fruition yesterday when the Unity cable went live. Built by TE Subcom and NEC, it stretches 9620km from Chikura Japan to Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and San Jose. It consists of five fiber pairs, each of which is designed for 960Gbps for 4.8Tbps in all – at least with today’s technology.
Capacity in the Pacific has been increasing by leaps and bounds in the past couple years, with TPE, AAG, and Unity all now operational. The eventual effect on bandwidth pricing in the region remains unclear, but there can be only one direction pricing can go – which is precisely what Google had in mind in the first place. The Unity consortium is constructed such that members can own and operate their fiber pairs independently.
Wasting no time, Pacnet has already pounced on its own portion and announced the opening of its EAC Pacific cable system. The new link provides Pacnet with a much needed dedicated route to North America, after which they say their next goal will be to aim westward with West Asia Crossing and south toward Australia. One wonders just how much money their private equity backers are pumping into the company.
The other partners – Singtel, KDDI, Global Transit, Bharti Airtel, and Google – have three more fiber pairs divided somehow between them. I wonder what their immediate plans are.