In a big scoop for the Asia Pacific region, Google has joined a consortium comprising of Telstra, Singtel, Subpartners, AARNet and Indosat Ooredoo to back the construction of 9,000 km of subsea cable that will connect Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.
Expected to be completed by mid-2019, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will construct the fiber-optic cable which will use optical technology to provide a capacity of 18 terabits per second (equivalent to 8 million simultaneous high-definition Google Hangout video conference calls according to Google) with a view to expanding in the future.
The project titled INDIGO will further strengthen Google’s cloud strategy and will be the internet giant’s fifth submarine cable in the APAC region and seventh globally. Google used the announcement to confirm its commitment to improving cloud infrastructure in South East Asia particularly as more people are coming online in the region and are more dependent on the cloud.
Google stated that by enabling better connectivity, it is opening up opportunities for its cloud customers in the region and it will “continue to support efforts to improve internet infrastructure, in Asia and across the globe.”
Only INDIGO’s investors will have ownership of the spectrum which will connect Singapore and Perth, and onwards to Sydney with two additional fiber pairs connecting Singapore and Jakarta. It’s understood that telcos, Telstra and Singtel, will be able to sell capacity to their customers as part of the deal.
Telstra’s Group Managing Director of Global Services and International, David Burns, said: “With internet data consumption growing by 70 per cent in Asia last year alone these sorts of investments in international networks are critical for meeting the needs of connected consumers and businesses. This will be an important piece of technology infrastructure connecting South East Asia and Australia.”
Singtel’s Vice President of Career Services & Group Enterprise, Ooi Seng Keat, shared this sentiment adding: “The construction of INDIGO is timely to meet the rising demand for high-speed broadband between Asia and Australia.”
The announcement of the INDIGO agreement comes on the day that dark fiber company, Superloop, reveals it has acquired submarine cable builder SubPartners for A$3.3 million. Both owned by serial tech entrepreneur, Bevan Slattery, the acquisition will provide Superloop with all of Subpartners shares and strategic assets including ownership of the international submarine cable capacity as part of the INDIGO consortium.
Superloop’s Chairman and CEO, Bevan Slattery, said the acquisition offers Superloop customers “a fully meshed Pan-Asian network”, adding that the consortium will “provide Australia with a new diverse international route into South East Asia.”
According to Telegeography, there are 428 active submarine cables spanning 1.1 million kilometers worldwide. Its Global Bandwidth Research Report also adding that the pace of worldwide international bandwidth growth “has been strongest on links connected to Africa, Asia and Oceania, where demand increased at compound annual growth rates of over 50 percent between 2011 and 2015.”