Google will help build trans-Pacific fiber-optic cable

A group of six international companies, including Google, is building a $300 million underwater fiber-optic cable linking the United States and Japan.

The 6,200-mile trans-Pacific broadband cable system called Unity will respond to the expected growth in data and Internet traffic between Asia and the U.S., the companies said in a statement Monday. A signing ceremony was held Feb. 23, they said.

BesidesGoogle, the Unity consortium includes Bharti Airtel Ltd., India's leading integrated telecom services provider, and Japanese telecommunications company KDDI Corp.

The others are Malaysian Internet company Global Transit; Pacnet, a telecom company headquartered in Hong Kong and Singapore; and SingTel, a leading Asian communications and mobile company.

NEC Corp. and Tyco Telecommunications are suppliers for the project, set to be up and running in the first quarter of 2010. Construction begins immediately, according to the consortium.

The cable is expected to initially increase trans-Pacific fiber-optic capacity by about 20%, with the potential to add additional bandwidth, the companies said. It will connect Chikura, near Tokyo, with Los Angeles and other U.S. West Coast points, and the system will connect to other Asian cable systems via Chikura, they said.

"The Unity cable system allows the members of the consortium to provide the increased capacity needed as more applications and services migrate online, giving users faster and more reliable connectivity," said Unity spokeswoman Jayne Stowell.

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