Google has announced plans to build Firmina, an open subsea cable that will run from the East Coast of the United States to Las Toninas, Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil and Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Firmina, says Google, will be the longest cable in the world capable of running entirely from a single power source at one end of the cable if its other power sources are temporarily unavailable. This is described as “a resilience boost at a time when reliable connectivity is more important than ever”.
With 12 fibre pairs, the cable will carry traffic quickly and securely between North and South America, says Google, giving users fast, low-latency access to Google products such as Search, Gmail and YouTube, as well as Google Cloud services.
The cable is named after Maria Firmina dos Reis (1825 – 1917), a Brazilian abolitionist, considered Brazil’s first novelist, whose 1859 novel, Úrsula, depicted life for Afro-Brazilians under slavery.
SubCom, which designs, manufactures, deploys, maintains and operates fibre optic cable networks, is to build the Firmina cable.
Manufacture of the cable will take place in the USA during 2021 and early 2022, with main lay installation operations scheduled for summer 2022. The system is expected to be ready for service by the end of 2023.
Including Firmina, Google has investments in 16 subsea cables, such as Dunant, Equiano and Grace Hopper, and consortium cables like Echo, JGA, INDIGO, and Havfrue, not to mention Google data centres and Google Cloud regions around the world.