Are submarine cables made of fiberglass

Information highway through the ocean

In the past, it was mainly the telecommunications companies who laid submarine cables and then rented them out, but now the digital corporations themselves are increasingly becoming active. Microsoft, Google and Facebook already control or rent over half of the worldwide bandwidth. And they are increasingly sinking the Internet veins themselves in the sea. Facebook and Microsoft, for example, have jointly installed the 6,600-kilometer “Marea” cable between Virginia Beach in the United States and Bilbao in Spain in the Atlantic. Together with Google and other companies, Facebook is also involved in the 12,000-kilometer “Pacific Light Cable Network” (PLCN) between Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Google already operates or builds three submarine cable connections on its own: “Curie” between the USA and Chile, “Dunant” between the USA and France and “Equiano”, which connects Portugal with Nigeria and South Africa.

With their own submarine cables, the tech giants want to increase their independence, save the rental costs for using the cables and reliably supply their overseas customers with a large and stable bandwidth. Google announced its next project in July. The submarine cable "Grace Hopper" is to connect the USA with Great Britain and Spain from 2022 onwards. This will increase capacity and better serve Google services such as Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud.

According to the company, the cable, named after a US computer pioneer, will use a new type of fiber optic switching architecture that can better redirect data traffic in the event of a failure. And the search engine giant also wants to set new standards in terms of transmission speed with “Grace Hopper”: the 16 fiber optic pairs should be able to chase 340 to 350 terabits of data per second across the Atlantic. According to Google, enough for 17.5 million people to simultaneously stream videos in 4K resolution.
Times and technologies have just changed. In 1858 the first transatlantic submarine cable between Great Britain and North America was completed. For the inauguration, Queen Victoria sent a message to US President James Buchanan - which reached its recipient after 16 hours.