New JGA cable to connect Japan, Guam and Australia by end of 2019

subsea cable ship
Image credit: Igor Grochev /

Yet another regional Asia-Pacific submarine cable system is on the way – the 9,500-kilometer Japan-Guam-Australia (JGA) cable system, which is funded partly by Google, officially commenced construction on Wednesday.

Ownership-wise, the JGA is technically two cable systems, one private and one via consortium. JGA South (JGA-S) – the segment between Sydney and Piti, Guam – is a consortium cable backed by Google, RTI Connectivity (RTI-C) and AARNet. JGA North (JGA-N) – which connects Japan and Guam, is privately owned by RTI-C. The northern and southern segments will interconnect in Guam at a newly built landing station.

NEC and Nokia-owned Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have been contracted to co-build the system. NEC said in a statement that the cable will deliver a design capacity of more than 36 Tbps.

NEC also said the JGA will “further enhance and contribute to the much-needed expansion of communications networks from Japan and Australia, to Asia and the United States, thereby improving network redundancy, ensuring highly reliable communications, and expanding onward connectivity options in Guam.”

In a blog post, Michael D. Francois of Google’s Global Network Infrastructure division said the two fiber pairs in both segments will provide “deeply scalable capacity” to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers:

This new addition to the Google submarine network family, combined with investments in the IndigoHK-G and SJC subsea cables, will give GCP users access to scalable, diverse capacity on the lowest latency routes via a constellation of cables forming a ring between the key markets of Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. […]

Taken together, these cable investments provide improved connectivity to GCP’s five cloud regions across Asia and Australia (with more on the way), so that companies using GCP can serve their customers no matter where they are.

JGA subsea cable
Image credit: Google

RTI-C’ president and CEO Russ Matulich said that the JGA cable will provide “alternative paths, enhanced quality of service, and cost-effective bandwidth solutions” to the hyperscale cloud providers and enterprise companies that are fueling exponential data growth between Asia, Australia, and the US.

“JGA’s unique design will also improve latency between Tokyo-Sydney, while greatly reducing provisioning timeframes,” Matulich added.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock, said its investment in JGA complements AARNet’s investment in the Indigo subsea cable system to meet growth in bandwidth demand from Australian universities for science, research, teaching and learning.

The system is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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