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Rumor: Google Planning Giant Undersea Cable?

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Grahame Lynch of CommsDay reports (my emphasis):

Google is planning a multi-terabit undersea communications cable across the Pacific Ocean for launch in 2009, Communications Day has learned.

The Unity cable has been under development for several months, with a group of carriers and Google meeting for high-level talks on the plan in Sydney last week. (…)

Communications Day understands that Unity would see Google join with other carriers to build a new multi-terabit cable. Google would get access to a fibre pair at build cost handing it a tremendous cost advantage over rivals such as MSN and Yahoo, and also potentially enabling it to peer with Asia ISPs behind their international gateways – considerably improving the affordability of Internet services across Asia Pacific.

CommsDay says Google didn’t directly deny or conform the rumors, with Google’s Barry Schnitt telling them:

Additional infrastructure for the Internet is good for users and there are a number of proposals to add a Pacific submarine cable. We’re not commenting on any of these plans.

Does this rumor sound crazy? Well, have a look at this Google job position:

Strategic Negotiator, Submarine Cable – Mountain View (…)

Submarine cable Strategic Negotiators are specifically responsible for working with internal technical and business teams to identify, select, and negotiate submarine networking contracts as part of the development of Google’s global backbone. These negotiators will work closely with vendors to identify highly cost-effective solutions under the most favorable commercial and technical terms possible. They will also be involved in new projects or investments in cable systems that Google may contemplate to extend or grow its backbone. Negotiators will need to have in-depth knowledge of the global submarine cabling system and a rock-solid understanding of how terrestrial constraints drive strategic submarine networking decisions.

And it may just be a coincidence, but a while ago Google Blogoscoped co-editor Tony Ruscoe found the Google intranet subdomain “unity.corp.google.com”. John Paczkowski of Digital Daily comments, “It’s clear Google has telecom aspirations, but apparently they’re quite a bit grander than previously thought – undersea-cable grand.”

[Thanks John! Photo source Creative Commons-licensed by Scott.]

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