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Google Cloud invests in new subsea cables linking CNMI, Guam and Japan

Updated: Apr 13

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Google Cloud this week announced a $1 billion investment to expand the Pacific Connect initiative and deliver two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei, which will connect Guam, CNMI and Japan.

The project is part of Google’s Japan Digitization Initiative that will create new fiber-optic routes between the continental U.S. and Japan, according to Brian

Quigley, vice president for Global Network Infrastructure at Google Cloud.

At the same time, the digital expansion aims to improve the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity between the U.S., Japan and multiple Pacific Island countries and territories.

Google Cloud collaborates with several partners including KDDI Corp., Arteria Networks Corp., Citadel Pacific and the CNMI on the initiative.

Named after the traditional sailing canoes in the Marianas, the Proa subsea cable from NEC will connect Japan, the CNMI and Guam.

"The NEC cable system Taiwan-Philippines-U.S., known as TPU, will be extended to the CNMI. As the CNMI’s first international subsea cables, Proa and TPU will together establish a new route between the continental U.S. and Shima, Japan," Quigley announced.

 Jim Beighley, CEO at Citadel Pacific, said his company's collaboration with Google Cloud promises to transform internet connectivity across the Pacific region.

Jim Beighley

“Citadel is pleased to partner with Google on this groundbreaking initiative to construct core ICT nodes in CNMI and Guam as part of the Pacific Connect project," he said

"By investing in new international subsea cable infrastructure and creation of these core ICT nodes in CNMI and Guam, IT&E, a subsidiary of Citadel, will be empowered to deliver significantly expanded internet services to the residents of islands," Beighley said.

Through the Proa cable, he added, the CNMI will be directly connected to international networks for the first time in history.

"This translates to a future of faster speeds, wider availability and a stronger, more stable connection — a boon for homes, businesses and organizations alike," Beighley said.

Proa is an NEC cable system linking Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. (known as TPU) that will be extended to the CNMI, Quigley said in an article posted on the Google Cloud website. "As the CNMI’s first international subsea cables, Proa and TPU will together establish a new route between the continental U.S. and Shima, Japan."

Arnold Palacios

“We are deeply honored to have the privilege of naming the cable 'Proa' and participating in the unveiling of this transformative network set to revolutionize connectivity in the CNMI," CNMI Gov. Arnold Palacios said.

On Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Google's fresh investments in subsea cables will boost the territory's initiatives "to foster economic expansion, particularly in industries like additive manufacturing, while bolstering the economic security of the region."

"These investments not only promise improved reliability and resilience locally but extend their benefits throughout our isolated islands," she added.


Taihei, the Japanese word for both “peace” and “Pacific Ocean,” is another

NEC cable that will connect Japan to Hawaii.

"Additionally, Tabua will be extended to Hawaii, building on the plans announced last year to run the cable from the continental U.S. to Fiji and Australia. Once complete, the Taihei and Tabua systems will create a diverse path between the continental U.S. to Takahagi, Japan," Quigley said.

Google said it would also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI and Guam, and linking the transpacific routes.

“In partnership with Governor Green’s administration, Hawaii's Connect Kakou initiative is working to ensure people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed Internet," Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said.


"The Pacific Connect initiative perfectly complements our planned efforts, and will significantly enhance our future connections from Hawaii to the continental U.S. and Japan as well as ensure communities across the Pacific have equitable and reliable access to digital services," Luke added,

Makoto Takahashi, president and CEO of KDDI, said his company has a long history of collaboration with Google on submarine cables, including cable landings in Japan,

The new venture "will contribute to increasing the reliability of submarine cable networks in the Pacific," he added.

Tatsuya Abe, president and CEO at Arteria Networks, noted that connectivity between Tokyo — the heart of the Internet in Japan — and overseas has been concentrated in Minami-boso, Chiba Prefecture.

"The Ibaraki region, including Takahagi, had not had any submarine cable landings for over 20 years until the arrival of Topaz, which Aretria has supported," Abe said.

"Leveraging the landing facilities for the Topaz project, we are delighted to partner further with Google for this visionary initiative, which will contribute to strengthening Japan's digital infrastructure," he added.


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