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Google’s Grace Hopper Subsea Fibre to Link UK, USA and Spain

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 (3:21 pm) - Score 1,665
google grace hopper fibre optic cable laying ship

Internet technology giant Google has announced plans to construct a new private subsea fibre optic cable – called ‘Grace Hopper‘ – between the USA (New York), United Kingdom (Bude in Cornwall) and Spain (Bilbao), which could improve the performance of their online services and ensure plenty of data capacity for the future.

The cable itself will be equipped with 16 fibre pairs (32 fibres) and incorporate novel optical fibre switching technology (the world’s first submarine cable to use it), which Google says will allow for increased reliability in global communications, “enabling us to better move traffic around outages.”

A contract to build the cable itself was signed earlier this year with Eatontown, N.J.-based subsea cable provider, SubCom, and the entire project is expected to be completed in 2022. Sadly, the official announcement doesn’t say much more than that, although we do get a brief video (see below).

The news follows only a couple of months after a Facebook linked consortium announced plans to build a major 37,000km long subsea (submarine) fibre optic cable of its own called 2Africa (here), which will run between the UK and most of coastal Africa by around the end of 2023.

This cable is named for computer science pioneer Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906–1992), best known for her work on one of the first linkers (compilers), which was critical in the development of the COBOL programming language. She’s also credited with famously finding an actual “bug” in a program; her team tracked down the source of a short circuit on the early Harvard Mark II computer to a moth trapped in a panel.

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9 Responses
  1. Avatar Buggerlugz

    Interesting. Wonder if its a continuous cable and actually manufactured on the ship as a its deployed?

    • Avatar CarlT

      Sections spliced together.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Should also mention there’ll be optical amplification / repeating / regeneration depending on distance as well, so won’t be a single giant length of cable across the Atlantic.

      The need for subsea amplification is why part of the cable is devoted to carrying power.

    • Yep, even light signals over long distances need a boost now and then.

  2. Avatar Graham Long

    From Bude this cable which Google say will be operational in 2024, will run through Devon and Somerset to London and other cities passing thousands of rural properties in the two counties still waiting for so called superfast broadband whilst Connecting Devon & Somerset, run by the two county councils, plod their way through their fourth attempt to contract suppliers using £27M of public funding allocated to them in 2012, eight years ago. This cable across the Atlantic will be up and running before rural residents of Devon & Somerset get useable broadband.

  3. Avatar Archie

    So lower pings for AWS hosted servers in the Americas?

  4. Avatar Whoknows

    All that work for 32 fibers ? Yes , loads of fancy transmission and power included , but 32 fibers ? Wonder how they can up with that number ?

  5. Avatar Dave

    That explains the amount of subduct being installed by vodafone along the route. id put a bet on Creathorne Farm CLS, Widemouth bay

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