Home Technology Google to build a powerful new undersea cable for South Africa

Google to build a powerful new undersea cable for South Africa

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Google has grand plans for their Stadia gaming platform that is supposed to herald a new era of gaming that will see people access and play their games on practically any device imaginable, with no need to worry about graphical powerhouse machines. The only requirement being a connection to the internet and the likely copious amounts of RAM that said browser will take to store all this info in memory.

It’s a grand ambition and one that could definitely usher in a change to the way we all play video games if It weren’t for one big problem – internet connectivity, bandwidth and latency. Not only do few people have access (though this is growing) to a fast enough internet connection that could make this sort of system work, but with most cloud services that these systems will use not existing in the country, it’s unlikely we will be able to get a decent enough latency to make playing these games useful, especially multiplayer games. Times are changing though and along with internet speeds increasing quite rapidly, it appears Google also has a plan to tackle the internet issues with South Africa directly, by building their own internet pipe between the country and Europe.

Google has revealed the plans in a new statement which says the company will lay a new cable that will use state-of-the-art infrastructure based on space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology that allows for the transmission of information along parallel channels. Google’s new cable will be called “Equiano,” named for Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist who was enslaved as a boy, which is fitting considering phase 2 of the project will see the cable branched off to that country.

(It) will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.

The new cable, which will be fully funded by Google, is expected to be operational in South Africa by 2021 and is said to have 20 times the network capacity that the latest undersea cable that links Europe to South Africa (assumedly referring to the WACS (West Africa Cable System), supported by MTN, that was completed in 2012). The cable should form a private connection to the rest of Google Cloud platform with the only assumption being that there will be some local data centres in which it connects to, which should significantly increase Google’s ability to serve the local market through its cloud services and the likes of Stadia.

Google isn’t the only company interested in laying new cables to South Africa as Facebook has also previously mentioned a desire to build an underwater data cable that would encircle Africa. That was just a long-term vision from Facebook though as Google has shown intent here and already signed the agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks to make this a reality.

So exciting news for people who were looking forward to Google Stadia and Google’s future cloud platform, though the only obvious bad new being that we will potentially have to wait till 2021 to really get the full benefit of it all.

Last Updated: July 1, 2019

23 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 1, 2019 at 13:27

    I’ve always wanted to know about the cable route. Is it mid-point, floating, or is it on the seabed?

    Anyone have suggestions on a documentary/info-graph I can watch/read?

    Reply

  2. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 1, 2019 at 13:32

  3. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 1, 2019 at 13:32

    • For the Emperor!

      July 1, 2019 at 13:52

      Do they all come with a shark? Does it have laser beams?

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Umbra

        July 1, 2019 at 13:59

        Of course, hence my other video above

        Reply

  4. G8crasha

    July 1, 2019 at 14:05

    And then the wholesale purchasers and infrastructure owners (i.e. the ISPs/FTTH/FTTB/ADSL/Wireless/Mobile Data providers) come into the picture, which increases costs for us as the end user.

    Reply

  5. Raptor Rants

    July 1, 2019 at 13:33

    Caveat – If they don’t have local datacenters then this won’t help. Light physically cannot travel faster than 120ms at last measure I believe? For traveling between ZA-Europe and back.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Umbra

      July 1, 2019 at 13:36

      Have you not heard about light v2.1?

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        July 1, 2019 at 13:59

        LOL. Light has been patched. It now runs at double the speed. Science equations will be affected. Please report bugs on the Universe Feedback thread.

        Reply

        • Guz

          July 1, 2019 at 14:05

          God called, he wants his source code back and to stop messing with his system settings,

          Reply

        • Admiral Chief Umbra

          July 1, 2019 at 14:29

          Not double, 2.1 times the speed. PAT PENDING

          Reply

    • Frik van der Hewerskink

      July 1, 2019 at 14:54

      Yeah on +- 18000km (UK to SA) it takes about 60ms for light to travel, this is just pure light speed. So ping would be double that.

      Reply

      • Raptor Rants

        July 1, 2019 at 15:01

        yeah so I was right. Hehe. Around the 120ms mark which is just the pure light side. This ignores all the overheads etc.

        So yeah, we’d need a local server to gain any benefit from this whatsoever. And we’d need an ISP that prioritizes traffic over this line and have the wallet to afford said ISP etc etc

        Reply

  6. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 1, 2019 at 13:33

  7. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 1, 2019 at 13:45

    Just remember the shark repellent

    Reply

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