Google-built Firmina subsea cable: Here's all you need to know about the world’s longest undersea cable

Firmina subsea cable will be the longest subsea cable in the world. It will run from the East Coast of the United States to Las Toninas, Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Google-built Firmina subsea cable
Google-built Firmina subsea cable

In a first, Google on 9 June 2021 announced its plans to build an open subsea cable, Firmina, that will run from the East Coast of the United States to Las Toninas, Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay to bolster internet connectivity and to enhance its existing cable investments in the region. 

The announcement comes amid a surge in cloud and internet services due to an increased online activity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Longest subsea cable in the world

Firmina subsea cable, named after Brazilian abolitionist and author Maria Firmina dos Reis, will be the longest subsea cable in the world.

Single power source

It will be capable of running entirely from a single power source at one end of the cable if its other power source(s) become temporarily unavailable, providing an important resilience boost at a time when reliable connectivity is more important than ever. 


Image: Firmina subsea cable map

Improved access to Google services in South America

With 12 fibre pairs, the cable will carry traffic quickly and securely between North and South America, giving users fast, low-latency access to Google products such as Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Cloud services.

16 subsea cable investments

With Firmina, Google has now investments in 16 subsea cables, such as Dunant, Equiano and Grace Hopper, and consortium cables like Echo, JGA, INDIGO, and Havfrue. 

About Maria Firmina dos Reis

Maria Firmina dos Reis (1825 - 1917) was a Brazilian abolitionist and author. Her 1859 novel, Úrsula, depicted life for Afro-Brazilians under slavery. She is considered to be Brazil's first novelist. 

Other Projects

Blue Raman fibre-optic cable

Google is currently working on Blue Raman fibre-optic cable that will connect India to Europe via the Middle East and will strengthen the tech giant's current network. 

The 8,000 km cable network will be divided into two segments: One will start from Genoa in Italy to Aqaba in Jordan; crossing the Mediterranean Sea and Israel. The other will start from Mumbai in India to Aqaba in Jordon to join the other segment, crossing the Indian Ocean and Saudi Arabia.

The development occurred at a critical point of connectivity as it passes through Saudi Arabia and Israel, two arch-enemies. The underwater cable project is expected to reach Israel by 2022 with an estimated cost of $400 million and is named after Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman.

Echo and Bifrost undersea data cables

Facebook and Google jointly announced their plans for two new undersea data cables, Echo and Bifrost, connecting North America and the Asia-Pacific region. 

With these projects, the companies are focussing to increase transpacific capacity. Bifrost and Echo will be the first transpacific cables to cross the Java Sea, and their construction will nearly double the capacity.

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