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Investing $1 billion in digital connectivity to Japan

Today, we’re announcing a $1 billion investment in digital connectivity to Japan, which includes the expansion of the Pacific Connect initiative and delivers two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei. In collaboration with several partners — including KDDI, ARTERIA, Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) — these cables will create new fiber-optic routes between the continental U.S. and Japan in support of Google’s Japan Digitization Initiative, while improving the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity between the U.S., Japan, and multiple Pacific Island countries and territories.

The Proa subsea cable from NEC will connect Japan, the CNMI, and Guam and is named after the traditional sailing canoes of the Marianas. To further increase reliability in the region, 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.

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.

Google will also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. This interlink will connect the transpacific routes, improving their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.

“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. The name ‘Proa’, drawing inspiration from our traditional sailing canoes, encapsulates the essence of connectivity and cultural heritage. It signifies the collaborative journey this project embodies, reflecting resilience and progress as we collectively move towards a future brimming with opportunities and prosperity for our islands. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Google for their steadfast dedication to including the CNMI in the Pacific Connect Initiative, perfectly aligning with our vision for a more connected, resilient, and technologically advanced Pacific region.” – Arnold I. Palacios, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 

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. 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. – Sylvia Luke, Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii

“Google and KDDI have a long history of collaboration on submarine cables, including cable landings in Japan. KDDI is delighted to embark on this new project, and the collaboration will contribute to increasing the reliability of submarine cable networks in the Pacific.” – Makoto Takahashi, President, Representative Director, CEO at KDDI CORPORATION

“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 ARTERIA has supported. 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. As a partner of the Pacific Connect initiative, we look forward to its future development.” – Tatsuya Abe, President and CEO at ARTERIA Networks Corporation

“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. This initiative promises to transform internet connectivity across the Pacific region, ushering in an era of unparalleled reach, reliability and resilience. 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. 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. Citadel and Google are steadfast in their commitment to building a brighter digital future for the Pacific. Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in this journey.“ – Jim Beighley, CEO at Citadel Pacific 

Subsea cables can bring economic and productivity gains to the places where they land. For example, in Japan, studies estimate Google network infrastructure investments drove an additional $400+ million in GDP in the previous decade. With increased access to digital services, more people can take advantage of skill development and career opportunities, while businesses and public sector organizations can better serve their customers and constituents. 

We’re excited about the long-term benefits that these latest Pacific initiatives will bring to people, our users, and our customers. We’ll continue to share more as we continue working with partners to reduce the digital divide across the Pacific.

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