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An undersea cable-laying ship. (Photo courtesy Flickr user derlandsknect / cc2.0)

Google’s latest undersea cable project will result in a faster connection between important tech centers in Asia and Australia like Taiwan and Sydney, the company plans to announce Tuesday evening.

Technically called the Japan-Guam-Australia Cable System, the new cable project will link Taiwan to Guam, and Guam to Sydney, with new dual-fiber cables spanning 6,000 miles, adding to Google’s existing cables in the area when it comes online in 2019. Google is working on the new cables with a consortium of companies including RTI-C, AArnet, NEC, and Alcatel Submarine Networks.

The cables serve two purposes for Google. They help its primary business, responding to search queries and YouTube video requests with greater capacity, and they also help Google Cloud Platform customers in the Asia-Pacific region better serve their own customers.

A map of Google’s current and pending cable investments in Asia-Pacific. (Google Image)

Google has long invested in underseas cables to carry search traffic, as far back as 2008. Its cloud competitors have been a little slower to invest in their own cables, with Amazon Web Services making its first investment in 2016 while Microsoft got serious about cable investments in 2014, most recently completing a trans-Atlantic cable with Facebook’s help.

As cloud computing services become more real-time in nature, these investments start to really matter. The public internet won’t cut it for certain customers spending millions on cloud services, and the outcome of this infrastructure arms race to wire the planet with cables and data centers is going to be an important factor in determining the winners and losers as cloud computing matures.

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