Google has announced a $1bn Pacific Connect initiative to provide two new subsea cables between Japan and the US. 

Google explained in blog post that the project was in collaboration with Japan’s Digitisation Initiative, which Google CEO Sundar Pichai voiced support for in 2022. 

Google opened its first data centre in Chiba, Japan in 2023. 

The two cables, named Proa and Taihei, will connect Japan, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to the US. This marks the first international subsea cables to connect the CNMI. 

Google also wrote in its blog that it would be funding the construction of interlinking cables between the CNMI, Guam and Hawaii. 

The CNMI’s governor Arnold I. Palacios voiced his support for Google’s cables. 

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“The name ‘Proa’, drawing inspiration from our traditional sailing canoes, encapsulates the essence of connectivity and cultural heritage. It signifies the collaborative journey this project embodies, reflecting resilience and progress as we collectively move towards a future brimming with opportunities and prosperity for our islands,” he said. 

The Proa is a type of sailboat traditionally used in the CNMI. 

Google’s project is in collaboration with Japanese telecom companies KDDI and Arteria Networks. 

KDDI’s CEO and president Makoto Takahashi stated that the project was in line with a long history of subsea cable collaboration between Google and KDDI. 

“KDDI is delighted to embark on this new project, and the collaboration will contribute to increasing the reliability of submarine cable networks in the Pacific,” stated Takahashi. 

Research and analysis company GlobalData forecasts significant growth for Japan’s technology and IT sector. 

Between 2022 and 2027, GlobalData predict a CAGR of 8.4% for Japan’s total IT market revenue opportunity, exceeding a possible market value of $449bn by 2027. GlobalData largely credited this growth being caused by a renewed focus on digitisation and increasing government investment into research and development. 

“Connectivity between Tokyo — the heart of the Internet in Japan — and overseas has been concentrated in Minami-boso, Chiba Prefecture. The Ibaraki region, including Takahagi, had not had any submarine cable landings for over 20 years until the arrival of Topaz, which Arteria has supported,” stated Arteria Networks’ CEO Tatsuya Abe. 

Topaz is a subsea cable connecting Japan to Canada, which was installed in 2022. 

“Leveraging the landing facilities for the Topaz project, we are delighted to partner further with Google for this visionary initiative, which will contribute to strengthening Japan’s digital infrastructure,” Abe said.