MicroSoft, Facebook to Dabble In Submarine Cables?

May 28th, 2014 by · 3 Comments

Long after Google got involved in such mundane things as submarine cables, it seems two other tech giants have gotten the itch. Apparently both MicroSoft and Facebook are making plans to follow in Google’s transpacific footsteps and invest in a new undersea fiber build.  Actually Facebook is already part of APG I believe, but might be looking to up its presence further.

There have been a number of projects proposed in recent years for followup cables in the Pacific. But since the Unity, AAG, and TPE cables were built, there hasn’t been much action. MicroSoft and Facebook are probably looking to do the same thing as Google did, i.e. breathe new life into existing ideas while gaining influence into their future infrastructure that they might not otherwise have.  If they actually follow through, I have to wonder if they’ll also start to seriously look at terrestrial fiber investments as Google has been doing.

That being said, it’s all just talk right now. And given the contentious post-Snowden-NSA environment when it comes to US tech firms taking the lead in such projects, I suspect it will not be so quick to turn into reality — especially in the Pacific where there actually has been investment relatively recently.  Frankly, my attitude is the same as it was before Google made Unity happen:  I’ll believe it when I see the cable ships deployed.

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Categories: Undersea cables

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3 Comments So Far

  • Grant Lewis says:

    Not really surprising. Eleven years or so ago we were talking to msft about building out a fiber network for them to operate their service infrastructure across. Msft had an enormous cash war chest (still do frankly) and needed to expend some cash on critical infrastructure projects. Thus we proposed the fiber network to provide global interconnection across unique routes. As opposed to building they purchased lit fiber services and thus moved away from owner/operator model. Fast forward to 2014 and its clear they face even more threats and so it would be they are looking to engage in owning specific unique routes for purpose of neutralizing competitive threats against their service infrastructure. Again, not surprised. Perhaps in a few years MSFT, Google and Facebook will acquire fiber assets and operate them fully to control the end to end quality of experience their customers are demanding. Time will show.

  • Anon says:

    >Perhaps in a few years MSFT, Google and Facebook will acquire fiber assets and operate them fully.

    Google already does, they have an IRU on Level 3’s US footprint as well as outright ownership, or IRU on nearly a dozen submarine cables. Many of these are done a “go-behind” investments behind carriers which aggregated demand to achieve the best tier of investment in cable consortia.

    • JPW? says:

      You probably know this but Google has US IRUs with companies beyond just Level3. They keep quiet about it but if they were a transport/transit provider they’d be a damn big one.

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