Construction begins on Google-backed Japan-Guam-Australia cable

04 April 2018 | James Pearce

Construction of a 9,500km subsea cable linking Japan to Australia via Guam and backed by the likes of Google has begun.

JGA Cable

NEC Corporation and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), the companies involved in building the cable, said the build-out of Japan-Guam-Australia (JGA) cable has commenced, with the cable expected to be completed in Q4 2019.

The 36Tbps cable will boost communication services between Japan and Australia, with onward connectivity to Asia and the United States, whilst also boosting connectivity in Guam.

It is split into two parts: JGA South (JGA-S), which links Sydney Australia to Piti in Guam; and JGA North (JGA-N) which runs from Piti to Minami-Boso, Japan. Backers of JGA-S include Google, AARNet, and RTI-C. RTI-C is also the sole purchaser of JGA-N, which will interconnect with the southern portion of the cable at a new Guam cable-landing station which is being launched by Guam-based telecoms provider GTA.

Chris Hancock, AARNet's CEO said: "New submarine cable systems are providing a much-needed boost to communications infrastructure into Australia. 

“AARNet's investment in JGA complements our investment in the INDIGO subsea cable system, providing connectivity into North and Southeast Asia to meet the substantial growth in bandwidth demand for science, research, teaching and learning. This will allow Australian universities to have unconstrained access to meet the big data challenges of the future."

RTI-C's investment in JGA will be built utilising capital from the Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan's ICT and Postal Services Inc. (Japan ICT Fund), along with syndicated loans from Japanese financial institutions, including NEC Capital Solutions Limited.

Russ Matulich, RTI-C's President and CEO, acknowledged this important milestone stating, "Hyperscale cloud providers and enterprise companies are fueling exponential data-growth between Asia, Australia, and the United States. These customers require alternative paths, enhanced quality of service, and cost-effective bandwidth solutions. 

“By adding JGA to our existing cable investments, RTI is well positioned to serve these massive data-growth needs. JGA's unique design will also improve latency between Tokyo-Sydney, while greatly reducing provisioning timeframes. Finally, RTI is grateful for NEC and ASN's collaborative and innovative approach, making commercial service likely in late 2019."

It is the latest subsea cable investment by internet giant Google, which it first unveiled the plans back in January as part of a $30 billion pledge to boost infrastructure. The California-based company has continued to invest in submarine cables in the region, including the Indigo, FASTER and PLCN cables.

Google NetworkGoogle is also working with RTI-C and NEC on the HKG cable system, which will help boost its network capacity in its new Hong Kong region and runs on to Guam, where it will interconnect with JGA and also the SEA-US cable, which links South-East Asia to the US.

Toru Kawauchi, general manager of NEC's Submarine Network Division said, "We are honored to be selected once again by RTI-C to construct their third subsea cable. While both SEA-US and HK-G will provide horizontal East-West connectivity across the Pacific, JGA will now provide the much-needed vertical North-South connectivity, enabling high capacity communications to reach all corners.

“Furthermore, JGA will be the second project after HK-G to be co-financed by the Japanese government-led Japan ICT Fund, and the third project supporting RTI's investment after SEA-US and HK-G for the Japanese loan syndicate. We wish to further utilize these funds for many more cables in the future."

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