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Google and Facebook Partner to Build Pacific Light Cable Network

PLCN will be one of the longest direct cable systems in the world

MOUNTAINVIEW, Calif.� Facebook is partnering with Google and Pacific Light Data Communication to build a new subsea cable spanning the Pacific, to be called the Pacific Light Cable Network.

PLCN will be one of the longest direct cable systems in the world, connecting Los Angeles and Hong Kong directly. (Most Pacific subsea cables go from the United States to Japan.) PLCN will be one of the highest-capacity trans-Pacific systems, with an initial estimated design capacity of 120 Tbps. This is the second subsea cable project that Facebook has been involved with, the first being MAREA, the trans-Atlantic subsea cable system they�re currently building with Microsoft and Telefonica.

PLCN will be a flexible cable system. �Prior to this year, anyone deploying a new subsea cable would do so on a turnkey basis, with the system vendor providing the initial optical equipment based on whatever technology was available at the time the cable was contracted,� according �Comparatively, the commercial and technical approach on this cable allows for independence between the wet plant and the optical technology. Each party can select its optical equipment independently, allowing us to choose from a variety of network equipment that will be interoperable with the system. This means equipment refreshes can occur as optical technology improves, including taking advantage of advances made during the construction of the system. When equipment can be replaced by better technology at a quicker pace, costs should go down and bandwidth rates should increase more quickly.�

Both subsea cable projects are being built by TE SubCom, which supports this kind of agile approach. In each joint build, the parties will be able to update the technology in their allotted fiber pairs independently as needed.

�As the number of people using Facebook apps and services continues to grow in the region, PLCN will help further connect Asia and our data centers in the U.S.,� said the same blog post.

Construction of the cable will commence in 2016.