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Google enters underwater cable business

Readies $300m cable from US to Japan

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Apparently, Google has stopped somewhere short of setting up its very own wireless network. But its very own Verizon-battling underwater comms cable is good to go.

In September, when we reported that Google was preparing to drag a multi-terabit communications cable under the Pacific Ocean, the world's largest search engine acted like it didn't know what we were talking about. But yesterday, with a post to The Official Google Blog, network acquisitions manager Francois Sterin finally acknowledged his company was just being coy.

Working in tandem with five Far Eastern comms companies, Google will stretch a $300m undersea cable from the US to Japan. "As more and more people conduct online searches and interact with applications like Gmail, Google Earth, and YouTube, we've had to think outside the box to create a more scalable, affordable, and easy to manage network that meets our users' needs worldwide," Sterin wrote. "One of the biggest challenges we face is staying ahead of our broadband capacity needs, especially across Asia."

As Communications Day originally revealed, this Pacific-spanning cable will be called Unity. Construction begins "immediately", with an eye towards completion in early 2010.

But Google wants you to know that it's not entering the undersea cable business. "We're not competing with telecom providers, but the volume of data we need to move around the world has grown to the point where in some cases we've exceeded the ability traditional players can offer," Sterin continued.

What he really means is that the traditional players are charging Google far too much for bandwidth, so Google has decided to cut them out of the equation.

But Google likes to pretend that its decisions have nothing to do with money. "Our partnership with these [Far east comms] companies is just another step in ensuring that we're delivering the best possible experience to people around the world," is the company's final word.

It's still being coy. ®

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