Google’s new submarine cable connecting the United States and Atlantic France is now operating

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© Drone Win Air / Aurélie Stapf

The 6,600 km long submarine cable system, Dunant, has been deployed by Google to absorb part of the US/EU traffic, a decisive global route for data transfer. Acknowledged as the most advanced subsea cable, it connects Virginia Beach (USA) with Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez (Atlantic France). 

To handle global flows, internet data does not exploit satellite technology but rather submarine cables: today, 430 operational submarine cables ensure 99% of intercontinental communications. 

The cable was installed by Google and named after the humanitarian Henry Dunant, the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of the Red Cross. It started in Virginia Beach in the United States in 2018, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and finished its journey at Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, on the coast of Atlantic France, in March 2020. The system has been fully operational since February 2021.

The most advanced underwater cable: 3/4 of the available capacity for data transfer in the subatlantic network

The Dunant cable features a 12 fiber pair design, delivering a capacity of 250 terabits per second (30 currently), the highest speed record on the internet! 

According to Jean-Luc Vuillemin, director of international networks at Orange (the French telecommunications operator which has invested around €10 million in the project), the cable concentrates “3/4 of the available capacity for data transfer in the subatlantic network”. 

Considering that Google owns services such as YouTube and Google Drive and represents almost 95% of online search requests, “the system expands Google’s global network to add dedicated capacity, diversity, and resilience, while enabling interconnection to other network infrastructure in the region”, states the press release.

Atlantic France, a strategic region for the digital sector

For its second private cable, Google selected Vendée. The French coasts did not receive transatlantic cables for almost 20 years, so infrastructures which have been abandoned since 2016 were therefore rehabilitated to ensure the completion of the project. 

Atlantic France is a strategic region which is well connected to the rest of Europe and which has the highest growth rate in France for jobs in digital firms.

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