SoftBank, Facebook, and Amazon commit to 8,700-mile transpacific subsea cable system

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Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank is joining forces with Facebook, Amazon, and a number of other technology companies to build a new 14,000 km (8,700 mile) transpacific subsea cable connecting Asia with North America.

The Jupiter cable system will have two landing points in Japan — at Shima in the Mie prefecture and at Maruyama in the Chiba prefecture  — as well as one at Daet in the Philippines and one near Los Angeles in the U.S.

Above: Jupiter Cable System: Route mockup

Joining the aforementioned technology trio on the large-capacity / low-latency cable project are SoftBank’s Japanese rival NTT, Hong Kong’s PCCW Global, and PLDT from the Philippines.

The system is expected to be finished by 2020 and promises a capacity of 60Tbps, though this may be expanded later “to meet rising data demands and complement existing cable systems,” according to a statement issued by NTT.

NTT added that it will connect its existing cabling infrastructure with Jupiter to deliver a “redundant three-route structure” that links major conurbations across Asia and the U.S. with a “secure and reliable international network.”

Above: Joining the dots

SoftBank has outlined a vision of a future in which the internet of things (IoT) will usher in trillions of connected devices globally, which is one reason it is joining this consortium. “Anticipating exponential growth of IoT-related businesses, SoftBank is committed to building and optimizing its network infrastructure to support rapidly increasing traffic demand and its customers,” it said in a press release.

Facebook and Amazon’s interest in bolstering global internet speeds is hardly a surprise either, given that they both rely on high-speed data transfers for cloud services, video-streaming, and more.

Indeed, many of the big U.S. tech firms have been investing in submarine cabling systems lately. Last month, Microsoft and Facebook’s 4,000-mile transatlantic internet cable was completed, and earlier this year Google revealed it was also backing Indigo, a new undersea cable between Asia and Australia. Elsewhere, Google and Facebook last year partnered on a new subsea cable project between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and a new Google-backed transpacific internet cable from Japan to Oregon also opened for business.

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