Google to build sub-sea fiber optic cable from Vancouver to Japan

Vancouver station will be located in the old Commonwealth Pacific Cable System building

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Google is planning to lay a cable the width of a garden house, and carrying 16 pairs of fiber-optical wires, from Vancouver to Japan.

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According to a blog post from Bikash Koley, Google’s head of Technology and Strategy, the sub-sea cable will be the first to connect Canada to Asia and will be called Topaz.

It will travel from Vancouver to Port Alberni and then to two points in Japan — the Ibaraki and Mie regions.

Koley wrote that the cable will be ready for service in 2023.

He said the cable would deliver quicker access to all Google services, including its search engine, Gmail, YouTube and Google Cloud.

It would also be used by other network operators to increase capacity. Previous cables have only been able to hold eight pairs of fiber-optic wires.

“With Topaz we will exchange fiber pairs with partners who have systems along similar routes,” Koley wrote.

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“This is a long-standing practice in the industry that strengthens the intercontinental network lattice for network operators, for Google, and for users around the world.”

The cable station in Vancouver will be located at the site of a now defunct copper undersea cable that once linked Vancouver to Hawaii and Sydney and was used for telephone service.

The project is supported by the Tseshaht First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation and Maa-nulth Treaty Society, who have consented to the cable traveling through their traditional territories.

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