Why Google Wants to Run an Undersea Cable From South Carolina to South America

by Matthew Memrick
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American tech company Google wants to boost internet access by running an undersea cable from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to South America.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, the company picked the South Carolina site for its East Coast launch site. It will run thousands of miles along the Atlantic Ocean seafloor to Las Toninas, Argentina.

Want to see how the cable will connect the two towns? Check out a map here.

While there are still many unknowns, the project’s completion date is the end of 2023. Google did not even reveal why it picked the Grand Strand park.

Drilling Plans Announced In November For Cable

The company didn’t reveal the cost of the line or its total length back in November. Company officials said on Nov. 23 that it would be holding preliminary drilling tests soon for its “Firmina” venture.

Also, the company is still seeking environmental permits from authorities.

If the project gets approved, Google said it would commit to working on the cable during early and late 2022 to get around, affecting the area’s tourism season.

Planners anticipate the cable’s completion to Argentina, with two additional offshoot lines going to Brazil and Uruguay.

What Will The Cable Do?

The cable will relay web traffic from South America to Google’s data centers in the Charleston suburb of Moncks Corner and other places.

In June, Google executive Bikash Koley said the connection would give “users fast, low-latency access to Google products such as Search, Gmail, and YouTube, as well as Google Cloud services.” 

Koley also mentioned that the Firmina cable would serve as the world’s longest cable, “capable of running entirely from a single power source if electricity is” severed at either endpoint.

On Tuesday, company officials said the cable would help Google and others get a faster and “more reliable” connection. You know, help Google do everything that it’s good at for things like medicine, education, business, and science stuff. 

Another cable perk would be the “connectivity” across South Carolina and other states in the region. Google announced the project in June without identifying the Palmetto state as its location.

Underwater Cable Plan Gets Specific

A New Hampshire company called SubCom will design, make and deploy the cable. The company will have to install a steel pipe under the beach and dunes for the fiber-optic line to go out from the ocean to a landside infrastructure. The company said the structure needs a three-mile buffer zone offshore. 

Google vowed the land would “look untouched” after they were through with it. They stated that these subsea cables are “environmentally benign throughout their lifecycle of about 25 years.”

State park system administrator Paul McCormack said he’s talked with Google for about six months about the property’s use and its possible “landing locations.” McCormick said he was excited about the future “connectivity” and its benefits to South Carolina.

The newspaper said Firmina would be the California tech giant’s 16th subsea cable. Earlier this year, it finished a trans-Atlantic cable from Virginia to France. 

Outsider.com