New submarine fibre optic cable to link Spain and the US

The Internet, as a concept, is quintessentially about connections. It’s not just about linking and aggregating systems, networks, equipment and devices at local, national and international level. For the Internet to remain a solid, technologically-functional and sustainable solution, we have to consider the enormous amount of data traffic that needs to travel between continents, and not just that, but also the need to have a means of transferring it at the highest speeds and within the highest quality standards. In the world of inter-continental data transmission, features like secure and reliable transfers are vital, both for corporate clients and private service-user consumers alike.


Given the situation, the top-notch infrastructure required to connect continents, with all the relevant guarantees in place, is undoubtedly submarine fibre optic cable. In fact, it’s worth noting that 89% of international data traffic that circulates on the Internet today does so via undersea cable solutions. One of the great global giants of technology, Google, recently announced the future launch of Grace Hopper, its next-generation submarine cable that will connect Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. To demonstrate the major transmission capacities this new infrastructure will provide, they confirmed the project will consist of a cable with 16 pairs of fibres, doubling what is offered, for example, by one of the last submarine cables to take a similar route, MAREA, which only has 8 pairs.

The biggest breakthrough in fibre optics since 2003

This new cable will be named Grace Hopper, in honour of the American scientist who pioneered computer science and the COBOL programming language in the 1950s. Grace Hopper represents the biggest major leap in undersea fibre optic connections between the US (Shirley) and the UK (Bude) via Spain (Bilbao) since the early 2000s. The anchoring of this cable in northern Spain – specifically in Bilbao – will bring with it a number of highly beneficial consequences for the country, with the clear desire of the Mountain View company to strengthen the provision of its online services, increase its capacities and speeds and contribute to the development of their Google Cloud project in areas like Madrid.

Grace Hopper submarine cable innovations

This intercontinental undersea fibre optic cable – expected to be operational by 2022, according to Google’s forecasts – represents a significant advance in the world of technological innovation. It is set to be the first submarine connection system of its kind to use fibre optic switching, a feature that will considerably increase the reliability of the network and the possibility of maintaining its integrity even in the event of any hypothetical outages. Engineers from both Google and cable provider SubCom plan to implement this type of innovation in other fibre optic cable systems in future, with the obvious positive effects on how the Internet is developing in other countries.


As mentioned, this submarine system will have 16 pairs of fibres – 32 fibres in total –, which also represents, according to company insiders, a significant improvement in the Internet infrastructure that currently connects the United States with continental Europe.

A strategy that signals the way ahead for fibre optic in Spain

Following decisions taken by the American technology giant, their approach to fibre optic is, far beyond just an option, clearly a firm commitment towards a standard that is on a path towards exponential growth. The demand for reliability, versatility, capacity and safety is set to become greater than all the forecasts we have for the medium and longer term.


Undoubtedly, the arrival of the new Grace Hopper transatlantic submarine cable and its position in northern Spain represents, once again, Google’s clear commitment towards Spain as the new ‘marketplace’ for large undersea capacities connecting Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Anchoring this submarine infrastructure in Bilbao will require ongoing solutions via terrestrial networks to the main data centres, the rest of the submarine cable stations in the region, as well as the nodes that govern the provision of services by telecommunications operators in both Spain and Portugal.


It is within this imperative need to provide continuity in submarine capacities that lyntia, the leading operator in Spain, plays a significant role. Through its extensive fibre network throughout Spain, lyntia can interconnect with this new cable and extend it to any point it needs via the terrestrial network.


Consequently, today’s global scenario of very-high-capacity telecommunications (as we know in Terabits) forces both the owners and users of undersea cables and the national operators with significant infrastructure to become one as an extension of the other, able to provide an appropriate response to the undeniable need to connect the various submarine cables together and, at the same time, with data centres that have become true data ‘hubs’ for exchanges between continents in real time.


In short, the lyntia network optimally responds to the continuity needs of enormous submarine bandwidth through its national terrestrial network, along with significant capillary and topology characteristics aimed at always providing the best service.


In Spain, key stakeholders in the sector and neutral operators like lyntia have been developing and implementing the use of extensive fibre optic cable networks for years in response to growing needs. With a new submarine connection point between the United States and Europe, the possibilities for growth in the connectivity markets in national territories will increase exponentially. If we can’t imagine a future without the Internet, we shouldn’t imagine the Internet without efficient fibre optic infrastructure in our countries. Taking advantage of all the opportunities this brings will, in essence, become an obligation as we look towards the future.

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