Over the years I've tried to keep an eye on the in-region activities related to submarine communications cables (and cool map here) . So it's with some interest that I've watched announcements and rumors during the last 18 months or so about several new cable projects. I've been waiting to see official filings to see if any would be added to the pile of cables that already come into San Luis Obispo county. It looks like we've got our first new addition to the area...
A recent California State Lands Commission filing seems to confirm that the backers of the Asia America Gateway Cable Network are serious about proceeding. They have pooled over $500M to build the network and plan to have it live sometime between Q4 2008 and Q1 2009.
The AAG will land in eight Southeast Asian countries before landing at the existing US West Coast AT&T landing station at Montana De Oro, in unincorporated Los Osos (approximately 15 miles outside of San Luis Obispo city). San Luis Obispo county already hosts other Trans-Pacific cable landings, at the same AT&T landing station as well at the Pacific Crossing station in Grover Beach (there are a total of at least six active submarine cables in the area, others are now dormant or very old used solely for research purposes, a bit more info here).
The eight countries, other than the US, where the AAG will have landing points are Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Guam. Besides the US West Coast the cable will also make a stop in Hawaii. In total it will span over 20,000 km (approximately 12,400 miles).
While other cables already go to Northern Asia, this will be the first direct submarine cable network between Southeast Asia and the United States. It also is coming online in time for the apparent retirement of two first generation Asia-Pacific cable systems, the APCN and TPC-5 (reference in press releases for the AAG but haven't found a direct source to verify this).
"The AAG is intended to provide an alternative and a more secure link for traffic from the region to the USA. This low risk route was designed to avoid the volatile and hazardous Pacific Ring, thus mitigating the effects from natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, which have previously damaged submarine cable systems, resulting in major disruptions to international Internet links."AAG appears to be, at first glance, a point-to-point design, rather a (redundant) ring. Though, from the sounds of it, the intention is that existing paths (Northern) on other cable networks will be used to complete the ring for carriers that desire redundancy.
Recently, other near-by Pacific submarine cable networks have also announced upgrades:
- Pacific Crossing announced capacity upgrade plans for it's PC-1 network (also landing in San Luis Obispo County @ Grover Beach)
- Southern Cross announced capacity upgrade plans for it's Austrialia/New Zealand cable network (also landing in San Luis Obispo County @ Montana De Oro/Los Osos)