Google and Facebook Have Joined the Pacific Light Cable Project

By Jayne MillerOct 13, 2016


Perhaps you've heard that Google and Facebook have joined the Pacific Light Cable Project.

We've compiled several resources to explain why content providers are getting into the cable game. (And we also have some insight on the cable in question.)

What's the PLCN?

The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will be the first direct fiber-optic submarine cable system between Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

And the PLCN is impressive. We're looking at 12,800 km of fiber and an estimated cable capacity of 120 Tbps. (This potential capacity would be the highest on the trans-Pacific route.)

Why Are Content Providers Investing in Submarine Cables?

We're so glad you asked.

Only a few years ago, the network requirements of content providers weren't notable. Today, the amount of capacity deployed by private network operators - largely content providers - has outpaced Internet backbone operators.

Faced with the prospect of ongoing massive bandwidth growth, owning new submarine cables makes sense.

(And before you ask about content providers' need for fiber pairs everywhere or Netflix's subsea capacity requirements, catch our mythbusters series, in which Tim Stronge and Alan Mauldin take on these popular notions.)

Isn't Google Already in on a Trans-Pacific Oceanic Cable?

You'd be correct. This isn't their first rodeo.

As TeleGeography’s Jon Hjembo notes in the link above, seeing more content providers get in on the undersea cable game is a logical response to massive increases in demand from a handful of major content networks.


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Tim Stronge

Tim Stronge

Tim Stronge is VP of Research at TeleGeography. His responsibilities span across many of our research practices including network infrastructure, bandwidth demand modeling, cross-border traffic flows, and telecom services pricing.

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Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin

Alan Mauldin is a Research Director at TeleGeography. He manages the company’s infrastructure research group, focusing primarily on submarine cables, terrestrial networks, international Internet infrastructure, and bandwidth demand modeling. He also advises clients with due diligence analysis, feasibility studies, and business plan development for projects around the world. Alan speaks frequently about the global network industry at a wide range of conferences, including PTC, Submarine Networks World, and SubOptic.

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Jon Hjembo

Jon Hjembo

Senior Research Manager Jonathan Hjembo joined TeleGeography in 2009 and heads the company’s data center research, tracking capacity development and pricing trends in key global markets. He also specializes in research on international transport and internet infrastructure development, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe, and he maintains the dataset for TeleGeography’s website,

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