Google to boost Hawaii connectivity in $1 billion Pacific Connect plan

Tech giant's Pacific Connect initiative to deliver subsea cables, boosting reliability and access to high-speed internet for residents and businesses.

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On Thursday, Google announced a $1 billion investment in expanding digital connectivity across the Pacific region that includes the Hawaiian Islands. The tech giant’s initiative, dubbed Pacific Connect, involves the delivery of two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei, plus links between them.

The Taihei cable, named after the Japanese word for both “peace” and “Pacific Ocean,” and will connect Japan to Hawaii. The Tabua cable was announced last year to run from the continental U.S. to Fiji and Australia, and will now be extended to Hawaii. Once completed, the Taihei and Tabua systems will create diverse paths between the continental U.S. and Takahagi, Japan, with Hawaii among the hubs.

Finally, Google will also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Guam. This interlink will connect the transpacific routes, improving their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific.

This is awesome for Hawaii,” University of Hawaii vice president for IT and chief information officer Garret Yoshimi told Hawaii Tech. ”This helps to ensure our future Pacific-wide connectivity… Lots of activity in our space!”

The project involves several partners, including KDDI, ARTERIA, and Citadel Pacific.

“Hawaii’s Connect Kakou initiative is working to ensure people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed Internet,” said Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke in a prepared statement. “The Pacific Connect initiative perfectly complements our planned efforts, and will significantly enhance our future connections from Hawaii to the continental U.S. and Japan as well as ensure communities across the Pacific have equitable and reliable access to digital services.”

The investment is expected to bring significant economic and productivity gains to the region. Studies estimate that Google’s network infrastructure investments in Japan drove an additional $400+ million in GDP over the previous decade. Google says that with increased access to digital services, more people in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands will be able to take advantage of skill development and career opportunities, while businesses and public sector organizations can better serve their customers and constituents.

“We’re excited about the long-term benefits that these latest Pacific initiatives will bring to people, our users, and our customers,” Brian Quigley, VP of Global Network Infrastructure at Google Cloud, said in the announcement. “We’ll continue to share more as we continue working with partners to reduce the digital divide across the Pacific.”

Jim Beighley, CEO at Citadel Pacific, a partner in the initiative, stated, “This initiative promises to transform internet connectivity across the Pacific region, ushering in an era of unparalleled reach, reliability and resilience. By investing in new international subsea cable infrastructure [we] will be empowered to deliver significantly expanded internet services to the residents of islands.”

The Pacific Connect initiative is part of Google’s larger effort to improve digital connectivity worldwide. The company has invested in numerous subsea cable projects in recent years, connecting regions across the globe and supporting the growing demand for high-speed internet access.

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