Google is expanding its network of submarine Internet cables with a new fiber-optic line connecting the United States and South America.
The Firmina cable, named after Brazilian abolitionist Maria Firmina dos Reis, will connect the east coast of the United States to Argentina, with two branches moored in Brazil and Uruguay.
When completed, Firmina will be the longest submarine cable capable of operating from a single power source, thus minimizing the likelihood of a blackout.
“With submarine cables, data travels as pulses of light inside the optical fibers of the cable. This light is amplified every 100 km with a high voltage electric current supplied to landing stations in each country, ”Google explained in a blog post.
“While shorter cable systems can benefit from greater power availability from a single end, longer cables with a large number of fiber pairs make this more difficult to do. “
Firmina will solve this problem by hitting the cable with 20% higher tension than traditional systems.
Google Underwater Web Cable
With twelve pairs of fibers, Firmina will also be one of the highest capacity submarine cables in the world. For perspective, a single pair of fibers is capable of simultaneously carrying millions of high definition videos.
Google says the new cable will help give South American users fast, low-latency access to its various products, such as Search, Gmail, Youtube and Google Cloud services.
The hope is also to give a very big boost to resilience, during a time when connectivity is more important than ever, with possibilities of physical movement limited by the pandemic.
Along with Firmina, Google now owns at least some of sixteen different submarine cables, many of which are co-owned with tech giants Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.
The new cable also extends the company’s existing network in the region, which includes the Tannat, Monet and Junior cables that serve various parts of South America.