Google and French telecommunications company Orange have announced a partnership where the two companies will be launching the Dunant Transatlantic undersea cable in 2020. The Dunant is one out of seven that Google is working on in the next two years and it will have a length of more than 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles), which is going to connect the Atlantic coasts of the United States and France.
The Atlantic is considered one of the world’s busiest submarine cable routes. And the need for connectivity increases by a factor of two every two years. Once the Dunant goes live in 2020, it will provide Orange with a capacity of over 30 terabits per second per pair.
Orange said that this is enough to transfer a 1GB movie in 30 microseconds. And this will enable Orange to boost capacity to meet its rapid growth in data and content demands between the United States and Europe for several years. The Dunant — which is named after Red Cross founder and the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Henry Dunant — is going to be the first new submarine cable connecting between the United States and France in 15 years.
Stéphane Richard, the CEO and chairman of Orange, pointed out that the role of submarine cables is often “overlooked” even though it has a central role “at the heart of our digital world.” So far, Orange has invested in more than 40 submarine cables.
Some of the other private undersea cables that Google worked on include Alpha and Beta. And Google is also launching a long-distance undersea cable called the Curie next year, connecting Chile to Los Angeles. The Curie is the first subsea cable to link with Chile in nearly 20 years.
By investing in private cables, Google is able to provide better performance and latency for its cloud users. And building the Dunant cable privately enables Google to ensure that the landing points are near its data centers in Belgium and Virginia. Google is also part of a consortium to connect the Havfrue cable from the United States to Denmark and Ireland and another cable connecting Hong Kong and Guam.
Google made its first investment in submarine cables in 2008. And that started the trend for other technology companies to make similar investments.
For example, Facebook, Microsoft and Spanish telecommunications company Telxius announced an underwater cable that was providing up to 160 terabits of data per second last year. That cable linked Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain. And in October 2017, Facebook, Amazon and SoftBank also invested in a trans-Pacific submarine cable called JUPITER — which was scheduled to be ready for service by early 2020 in time for the Tokyo Summer Olympics.