Google’s undersea cable to link Vancouver Island and Japan

Internet giant Google says a new undersea cable from Vancouver Island to Japan will allow faster access to services like Gmail and YouTube when it starts operating next year.

The new undersea line, called Topaz, will be the first-ever fiber optic cable between Canada and Asia, the company said in a statement announcing the project on Wednesday.

About the width of a garden hose, the cable will stretch along the floor of the Pacific Ocean between Port Alberni, British Columbia, and the Japanese prefectures of Mie and Ibaraki.

Vancouver Island First Nations, including the Tseshaht, Maa-nulth and Hupacasath, have released statements of support for the project and Google says the nations were consulted “every step of the way”.

“Tseshaht is very proud of this collaboration and our partnership with Google, which has been very respectful and thoughtful in its engagement with our nation,” Tseshaht chief adviser Ken Watts said in a statement.

“This is how we behave and this is how we want companies to behave in our territory,” he added.

Chief Charlie Cootes of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society said the society’s five nations have reached an agreement with Google and agreed to lay the cable through the nations’ traditional territories.

“This agreement, which benefits both Google Canada and our nations, is based on respect for our constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights and enhances the reconciliation process,” said Cootes.

“We would also like to acknowledge the sensitivity expressed by Google Canada during our interviews regarding the pain and trauma experienced by our people as a result of the residential school experience,” he added. “We look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship with Google Canada.”

Chief Councilor Brandy Lauder of the Hupacasath First Nation said Google’s relationship with the nation “is built on good energy.”

Google says Topaz Cable will house 16 fiber pairs, with a total capacity of 240 terabits per second with advanced traffic flexibility and resilience when it opens in 2023.

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