A first-of-its-kind cable from tech-giant Google, stretching from BC’s Lower Mainland and across the Pacific Ocean, aims to enhance Canada’s connectivity with Asia starting next year.

Work is now underway on Topaz, a massive subsea fibre-optic line that will run west from Vancouver, through Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, and overseas to the Mie and Ibaraki regions of Japan, explains Bikash Koley, Google’s head of Global Networking.

Measuring the width of a garden hose with 16 fibre pairs at 240 Terabits per second, Koley says Topaz will speed up access to Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Cloud, and other Google services.

He says the project is spearheaded by Google with several local partners in Canada and Japan teaming up to deliver the extensive subsea cable system.

“Other networks and internet service providers will be able to benefit from the cable’s additional capacity, whether for their own use or to provide to third parties,” states a blog post.


According to Koley, Topaz is built alongside the traditional territories of the Hupacasath, Maa-nulth, and Tseshaht. He notes that Google’s team consulted and partnered with the three First Nations “every step of the way.”

“Tseshaht is very proud of this collaboration and our partnership with Google, who has been very respectful and thoughtful in its engagement with our Nation,” said Elected Chief Councillor Ken Watts of Tseshaht First Nation.

“That’s how we carry ourselves, and that’s how we want businesses to carry themselves in our territory.”

And while Topaz may be the first trans-Pacific fibre cable to connect to Japan, Google says it’s not the first communication cable to land on Canada’s west coast.

In the 1960s, the since-decommissioned Commonwealth Pacific Cable System, a copper undersea cable, helped expand the Vancouver area’s international phone connectivity with Honolulu, Sydney Australia and Auckland New Zealand.


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