Business

Google might try to stretch a telecom cable across the Pacific

Fiber optic cables

Above: Fiber optic cables

Image Credit: Sebastian Tomus/Shutterstock

Google’s famous brand name may someday be living on another telecom cable that stretches across the ocean floor of the Pacific.

According a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that cited “people familiar with the matter,” the tech giant is thinking about investing in such a multi-million dollar cable. This would give it control over bandwidth running between its data centers in Oregon and the fast-growing markets of Asia. The cost and bandwidth of the cable would, most likely, be shared with others.

“We have to remember that Google gets 80 percent plus of its revenue from advertising,” Current Analysis telecommunications analyst Larry Hettick told VentureBeat.

“What Google wants is big, fast, and cheap pipes,” he said, especially as video becomes a bigger part of those ads.

While some Google-watchers see the company’s foray into fiber optics, sky-borne Internet, and trans-ocean cable projects as its next moves toward becoming a major Internet service provider, Hettick sees it largely as a way to stimulate other companies into providing those “big, fast, and cheap pipes.” Pipes, of course, also include Wi-Fi, whose traffic a recent Cisco report predicted would someday overtake traffic on wired connections.

Hettick noted that Google “picked Time Warner Cable and AT&T cities” for its Fiber project, and not cities where Verizon FIOS fiber is strong. Time Warner and AT&T recently upped their commitment to fiber.

In other words, Hettick said, Google’s position is that it needs bandwidth, and it’s going to spark others into building it out of competitive fear, or it will do it itself. But its endgame, he says, is ads and services, not bandwidth.

By investing in a Pacific cable, Google could expand the network of very fast connections that is beginning to appear in the U.S. to the Pacific region — or stimulate competitors to do so. In 2010, the company invested in a similar $300 million shared trans-Pacific cable. Microsoft has acknowledged it is also considering a cable that would connect China, South Korea and Japan with the U.S.

Google told VentureBeat it had no comment on the story.

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