Google invests in Indigo undersea cable in Southeast Asia

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Google has joined a consortium building the Indigo submarine cable system connecting Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.

The consortium – which also includes AARNet, Indosat, Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners, and Telstra – has also entered into an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks to build the system.

In related news, Australian dark fibre provider Superloop has acquired SubPartners.

The Indigo cable system (previously known as APX West & Central) will comprise two fibre pairs with an initial design capacity of around 18Tb/s.

The system will use an “open cable” design with spectrum sharing technology. The consortium members will own spectrum on the cable that they will be able to upgrade independently in the future.  

The new cable system will strengthen links between Australia and the fast-growing Southeast Asian markets, enabling cloud companies to conduct business around the globe.

“Many people are coming online across Asia, including businesses that depend on the cloud. That's why it's so important to enable better internet connectivity across the region, and why Google, alongside AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra, is building a new international subsea cable system in Southeast Asia, called INDIGO,” said Google executives Brian Quigley, director, global network infrastructure, and Michael Francois, internet infrastructure development partnerships manager for Australia, on the company blog.

Google has made seven submarine cable investments in total – this is its fifth in the Asia – more than any other cloud provider, the cloud operator claims (see, for example, Facebook and Google co-invest in Pacific Light Cable Network).

You might wonder why Google doesn’t lease capacity but that model doesn’t work as a global strategy, as capacity isn’t always available when and where it is needed, said Vijay Vusirikala manager of Google’s optical network architecture, during the OIDA Executive Forum last month.

The Indigo cable is expected to be ready for service by mid-2019.

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