Google recently announced new plans for its infrastructure to be both strengthened, expanded, and sped up. The tech behemoth will build another massive subsea cable to connect a data center in the United States to another one in France.
The cable called Dunant is expected to be up and running by 2020. It will traverse 4,000 miles of ocean and "connect Google’s North Virginia region directly to its Belgium region," according to the company's description of the project.
"Dunant adds network capacity across the Atlantic, supplementing one of the busiest routes on the internet, and supporting the growth of Google Cloud," Jayne Stowell, strategic negotiator of global infrastructure at Google, wrote in a blog post. "We’re working with TE SubCom to design, manufacture and lay the cable for Dunant, which will bring well-provisioned, high-bandwidth, low-latency, highly secure cloud connections between the U.S. and Europe."
These types of cables are often built and maintained by consortiums, or large groups of companies that collaborate in the best interest of the project's success. In 2016, Facebook and Google partnered on an 8,000-mile cable project from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.
The Dunant cable will be the first trans-Atlantic cable owned by a non-telecom company alone. This would put Google well ahead of competitors like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, both of which use consortium cables to sustain their infrastructure. Google's network is already the world's largest infrastructure, the company noted.
The company already has already made headlines for announcing expansive cable projects earlier this year. Most notably, the Curie deal would be a privately-owned and funded venture from Google to connect a data center in the US with one in Chile. Curie would be the first undersea cable commissioned by a major non-telecommunications company. It's also expected to be Chile's "largest single data pipe," according to PC Mag's assessment.
"We started off with two private cable projects that run over relatively short distances," the company wrote. "These were our Alpha and Beta cables (a nod to how we name software releases), and their success led us to build both Curie and Dunant privately. We’ve worked with consortia on other new cables—including Havfrue, HK-G and JGA-S--and will continue to invest in consortium cables in the future."
The cable itself is named after Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman and social activist best known for being the founder of the Red Cross. Dunant became a joint recipient of the world's first Nobel peace prize.
"In keeping with the theme we established with Curie, Dunant is also named after an influential innovator, Henri Dunant, the first Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Red Cross," the team explained. "Like Curie and Dunant, future Google private cables will follow a similar alphabetic theme."