Google joins Humboldt Cable, which now includes French Polynesia

Google joins Humboldt Cable, which now includes French Polynesia

The long-awaited Humboldt Cable project to connect Chile directly with the Asia-Pacific took a new turn after Google officially joined the consortium on Friday, along with the Office of Posts and Telecommunications of French Polynesia (OPT).

The 14,800 km subsea cable – which is being built by a consortium led by Desarrollo Pais – was originally planned to connect Chile with Australia and New Zealand. With Google and OPT onboard, the Humboldt Cable will now connect Chile and Australia via French Polynesia.

Brian Quigley, VP of global network infrastructure at Google Cloud, said in a blog post that Humboldt will add geographically diverse cable investments that link French Polynesia and Chile. Google also plans to interconnect Humboldt with its South Pacific Connect initiative, announced in October, which comprises the planned ‘Honomoana’ subsea cable connecting the US and Australia to French Polynesia, and the ‘Tabua’ cable connecting the US and Australia to Fiji.

Quigley said interconnecting Humboldt with Honomoana and Tabua cables would “strengthen the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity across the Pacific.”

The Humboldt project is the latest in a series of existing digital infrastructure investments by Google in Chile and across Latin America. That includes Google’s data center in Quilicura, the Google Cloud region in Santiago, cross-Andes terrestrial connectivity between Chile and Argentina, and Google’s private Curie subsea cable linking Chile, Panama, and the west coast of the US.

Patricio Rey Sommer, GM of Desarrollo País – a state-run infrastructure fund majority owned by the Chilean government – said the addition of Google to the Humboldt consortium was a major milestone for the project.

“After years of dedicated work, we are now entering the materialization phase. Google, our esteemed international partner, ensures that these works will adhere to the highest technical standards,” he said.

A press release by the Chilean government said the cable is designed with a capacity of 144 Terabytes, and should be completed sometime in 2026. According to BNAmericas, the project will cost around US$400 million.

Media reports suggest that Google has essentially replaced H2 Cable, a subsidiary of Singapore-based BW Digital (itself an affiliate of global maritime conglomerate BW Group).

H2 Cable joined the Humboldt consortium in December 2021, and issued a request for proposals (RFP) along with Desarrollo Pais to begin construction of the cable in August 2022. However, neither H2 nor BW Digital are mentioned in the Google blog post, the Chilean government release, or a separate release from the US State Department praising the Google announcement.


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