To Connect The U.S. With South American Countries, Google's Subsea Cable 'Firmina' Is Announced


While the internet people see comes in the form of wireless communication and through cables, most international communications are in fact carried over fiber optic undersea cables.

Among a number of companies that own those undersea cables, Google is one of the biggest.

And this time, the tech giant has announced another deep sea cable project that stretches from the East Coast of the U.S. to three locations in South America: Las Toninas in Argentina, Praia Grande in Brazil, and Punta del Este in Uruguay.

The project it calls "Firmina" is named after Maria Firmina dos Reis, a widely known Brazilian abolitionist and author. The cable is designed to span hundreds of kilometers, in an effort to boost the capacity of the internet and provide low latency access to Google sites.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote on Twitter that the goal of the project is to "improve access to Google services in South America" like Gmail, Google search, YouTube and Google Cloud.

According to Bikash Koley, Vice President of Global Networking at Google Cloud in a blog post, the 12 fiber pairs in the cable "will carry traffic quickly and securely between North and South America, giving users fast, low-latency access to Google products."

"With submarine cables, data travels as pulses of light inside the cable's optical fibers. That light signal is amplified every 100 km with a high-voltage electrical current supplied at landing stations in each country," Koley said.

"While shorter cable systems can enjoy the higher availability of power feeding from a single end, longer cables with large fiber-pair counts make this harder to do. Firmina breaks this barrier—connecting North to South America."

Google is planning on achieving this by powering the cable with a voltage 20% higher than with previous systems.

At this time, Google has at least 16 undersea cables across the world, boosting access as more countries offer critical services digitally.

Before this, Google finished the Curie cable in 2019, which was the first to lay cable between the West Coast of the U.S. and South America.

Read: Google Dunant Intercontinental Undersea Cable Goes Live With Speed Up To 250 Tbit/S

Google Firmina undersea cable
Google Firmina undersea cable. (Credit: Google)