Internet In Hawaii: Google Intervenes As End-Of-Life Nears

If you value staying connected with Hawaii from the mainland, or communicating from Hawaii when you are here, you may want to take notice of this. We surely did!

A press release from Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke just tipped us off to a big concern and a possible solution at the same time. We recall prior widespread communication outages between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, at least one of which was very prolonged. Hawaii is reliant on the sub-oceanic cable infrastructure to connect over 2,500 miles to the west coast.

Investment from Google set to help Hawaii’s internet infrastructure.

Google, together with the state, announced plans for a “$1 billion project to create new fiber-optic internet subsea cables. The cables will connect Hawaii with Japan, the continental U.S., the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam. These new transpacific routes are expected to enhance internet reliability and connectivity for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.”

What’s the problem with Hawaii’s internet infrastructure?

As the state pointed out, “Hawaii’s internet connectivity is reliant on three main undersea cables, and two of the cables are nearing the end of their operational lifespans.”

It is hoped that “Google’s introduction of the new “Taihei cable” will help to keep communication with Japan intact, while their “Tabua cable” will fill the same role between Hawaii, the continental U.S., Fiji, and Australia.

Google said that their technology will not only connect transpacific routes, but will improve reliability and reduce latency for Internet users.

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor added, “We are truly grateful for Google’s transformative investment in our state’s digital infrastructure.”

Federal government will kick in an additional $320 million.

Unrelated to Google’s investment, federal funding is set to build critical internet infrastructure across Hawaii. In March, Hawaii’s Digital Equity Plan was approved by the federal government, which will prioritize funding for the development of digital equity projects and programs.

How’s your connection with Hawaii?

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4 thoughts on “Internet In Hawaii: Google Intervenes As End-Of-Life Nears”

  1. The past several years there has been several submarine fiber cables
    that have bypassed Hawaii and several that have landed here. Improvements to fiber-optics lessened the need for signal repeaters.
    There is actually more than three submarine cables between Hawaii
    and the mainland.
    Southern Cross, – RFS 2000,
    Hawaiki – RFS 2018
    AAG – RFS 2009
    SEA-US Cable RFS 2017,
    Japan – US Cable – RFS 2002.

    As you can see, its a bit less dire than the media release makes it out to be.

    1. Even though the typical lifespan of a subsea cable is about 25 years, the average lifespan is closer to 17 years.

      Southern Cross and US-Japan are pretty much end-of-life, and AAG will be retired not long thereafter. That leaves 2 cables. And transpacific subsea cables require years of investment and construction before they’re able to get online.

  2. What they’re saying, without saying it – “the strategic benefits of this new infrastructure will also provide an uplift to the U.S. military. The enhanced communication capabilities could significantly bolster defense operations and readiness in the Pacific region…”

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