Google’s Submarine Cable Curie Will Add a Panama Branch

The main trunk of Google's Curie cable is complete, but the company has now announced plans for an additonal trunk to Panama.By Yevgeniy Sverdlik, DataCenter Knowledge
November 18, 2019

The construction of Curie, Google’s own submarine cable that runs from Los Angeles to Valparaíso, Chile, is complete, the company said – at least construction of the main trunk.

Google also said that it will add a branch along the cable that will land in Panama. The company said it would be the first branch on the cable (implying that others may be added in the future) and boost overall connectivity and bandwidth to Central America while helping Google connect its global cloud platform to more networks in the region.

Global cloud platform operators investing in their own intercontinental connectivity infrastructure is a fairly recent phenomenon. The first fiber-optic submarine cable was laid in the late eighties and funded by an international telco consortium, which has been the predominant model for funding such projects ever since.

In 2010, however, in an industry-first, Google entered one such consortium as a member, contributing money to construction of the Unity system, which links US and Japan. Other hyperscale platforms – Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon – also made their own submarine cable investments in recent years.

With Curie, Google again broke new ground, announcing early last year that it would fund the entire system on its own. It has since announced construction of two more wholly owned private submarine cables: Dunant, expected to come online in 2020 to shuttle data between the US and France; and Equiano, which will run between South Africa and Portugal when it lights up sometime next year, if all goes according to plan.

Curie sports four 18 Tbps fiber-optic pairs, providing 72 Tbps total bandwidth. It is the first subsea cable to land in Chile in 19 years, according to Google.

In 2012, Chile became the first Latin American country where Google built a data center. Last year, the company announced plans for a $140 million capacity expansion at its Chilean data center campus, located in Quilicura.

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