Google to invest $1 billion in US-Japan submarine cables

The investment aims to improve digital connectivity and support the Pacific Connect Initiative between the US, Japan, and Pacific Island Nations.

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Google unveiled plans on Wednesday to invest $1 billion in two new submarine cables to enhance connectivity between the United States and Japan. These subsea cables, named Proa and Taihei, will be constructed by NEC Corp., a leading Japanese tech company. Proa’s route will span Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam, connecting the continental US with Shima, Japan. The Taihei cable, on the other hand, will establish a direct link between Japan and Hawaii.

In addition to these cables, Google will extend its existing Taiwan-Philippines-US (TPU) cable system to CNMI, integrating it into the Proa network. The TPU cable, also built by NEC, will connect Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, and the US and is slated for completion by May 2025. Furthermore, Google’s Tabua cable, anticipated to be operational by 2026, will be extended to Hawaii, expanding its route from the US to Fiji and Australia.

These investments align with broader geopolitical objectives, as highlighted by the recent meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and US President Joe Biden, affirming their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The joint statement issued post-meeting specifically noted Google’s $1 billion investment, emphasising the expansion of digital connectivity for the North Pacific Connect initiative in collaboration with NEC to enhance digital infrastructure across the US, Japan, and Pacific Island Nations.

Why does it matter?

The US and Japan intend to collaborate with like-minded partners to fortify and expand resilient networks in the Pacific region. Part of this initiative includes contributing funds, such as $16 million, towards cable systems for the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu, emphasising the strategic importance of digital connectivity in fostering economic and diplomatic ties across the Pacific. These developments underscore Google’s significant role in enhancing global digital infrastructure and promoting connectivity across diverse regions.