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Google introduces Topaz, the Pacific subsea cable

Google Topaz Cable Illustration.jpg

Google has unveiled Topaz, its latest subsea cable system connecting Japan to Canada across the Pacific.

Announced in a blog post on the Google Cloud website, Bikash Koley, vice president and head of Google Global Networking and head of technology and strategy, Google Cloud for telecommunications, confirmed that new system will run from Vancouver to the town of Port Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, over to the prefectures of Mie and Ibaraki in Japan.

Due to become ready for service in 2023, Topaz will not only extend the reach of Google services, as is the case with most of its systems, it will also increase "capacity to the region for a variety of network operators in both Japan and Canada".

As such, Koley says that " other networks and internet service providers will be able to benefit from the cable’s additional capacity" be it for their own use or for third parties. At the same time, "Topaz we will exchange fibre pairs with partners who have systems along similar routes" as is the norm.

Leading the construction of the system, Google will also partners a number of local companies in both countries "to deliver the full Topaz subsea cable system", no firms have yet been named.

From a technical standpoint, Topaz will boast 16-fibre pairs, delivering a total capacity of 240Tbps and featuring Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS) technology, a software-defined spectrum slicing capability on an optical fibre pair for flexibility in routing and enhanced resilience. The Eastern end of the cable will be housed at the recently upgraded cable landing station of the former Commonwealth Pacific Cable System in Vancouver.

Google Topaz Cable Map 600x600.jpg

The Topaz cable route means it is built alongside the traditional territories of the Hupacasath, Maa-nulth, and Tseshaht, and Google has partnered with these First Nations in the development of this new system.

"Tseshaht is very proud of this collaboration and our partnership with Google, who has been very respectful and thoughtful in its engagement with our Nation," said Ken Watts, elected chief councillor, Tseshaht First Nation.

“The five First Nations of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society are pleased that we have concluded an agreement with Google Canada and have consented to the installation of a new, high-speed fibre-optic cable through our traditional territories," said chief Charlie Cootes, president of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society

"This agreement, in which both Google Canada and our Nations benefit, is based on respect for our constitutionally protected treaty and aboriginal rights and enhances the process of reconciliation. We would also like to acknowledge the sensitivity that Google Canada expressed during our talks in regard to the pain and trauma experienced by our people as a result of residential school experience. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Google Canada.”

“Google's respect towards our Nation is appreciated and has good energy behind it," added Brandy Lauder, elected chief councillor, Hupacasath First Nation.