back to article Google lives in an Orange submarine: Transatlantic cable will get by with a little help from some friends

Orange and Telxius are hooking up to provide backhaul links and co-lo services for Google's fibre-optic transatlantic cable, due to go live later this year. The Dunant cable will leave from Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez in the Pays de la Loire region of northwestern France and after a 6,600km Atlantic crossing it will land at Virginia …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virginia you say, hmmm now what US agency has it's headquarters in Virginia ?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Look on the good side. It saves it having a mysterious "outage" and the equally mysterious "automatic reconnection"

    2. deadlockvictim

      Les grèves sur la côte

      My first thought was, 'France? That'll mean that there will be strikes there when the service is needed most.'

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Les grèves sur la côte

        It will suddenly go dead, and then the cut end will float to the surface with a yellow hi-viz vest attached...

        1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

          Re: Les grèves sur la côte

          Ah but, will the ghost of Jacques Cousteau be in said vest?

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: Les grèves sur la côte

        Nah, can't happen. Strikes mostly happen in Paris and sometimes a few other big cities, and they are done on purpose to keep people from getting to their job or vacation spot.

        The cable is safe, it's already on the beach.

        1. baud

          Re: Les grèves sur la côte

          Also the most likely to go on strike are public servants, so a cable managed by a private company isn't likely to be affected. At most you'd get employees arriving late to work because the road is blocked/the train is stopped.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Les grèves sur la côte

        And "grève" initially meaning "beach", the risk is real!

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Which one doesn't?

    4. WolfFan Silver badge

      Wrong agency. The No Such Agency is in Maryland and would slap the Company’s little hands if the Company dared poach on its terretory.

    5. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Virginia you say, hmmm now what US agency has it's headquarters in Virginia ?

      The Farm Credit Administration springs to mind.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "This capacity, enough to send a complete digitised Library of Congress three times a second..."

    Yeah but, what is that in real Playmobil money?

    1. jmch Silver badge

      ...and how long would it take to transmit the REAL Library of Congress?

    2. Androgynous Cow Herd

      Can we just send the Congress?

      and keep the Library?

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Can we just send the Congress?

        ... and have them stop halfway?

        Oh wait, that was my outside voice, wasn't it.

  3. Luiz Abdala

    Imagine a mobile phone company...

    ...charging you by traffic. 10 bucks per gigabyte, say.

    And it can pump 250 terabits per second into customers. That's how much money 4G telcos are making here in South America.

    A license to print money.


    That probably will improve lag everywhere, I assume? Even if you don't use directly, someone will stop using what you do, to use that?

  4. chivo243 Silver badge


    They can send astronomical amount of data, imagine the caching mechanism for all that yummy data

  5. Anon Friday

    Transatlantic Chile to USA?

    1. richardcox13

      Look: east-west privilege; other directions have just as much value!

  6. HammerOn1024

    The Repeater System

    One thing that I've always had a question about with under sea optical cables is how do the repeater stations get power to do the job? One does not push 6,000 km without them.

    Also, what happens when one dies or needs maintenance? Do they pull the cable up to a ship and make repairs? I would think that near impossible do to finding the cable post installation and praying it doesn't snag on something... or some creature building their house over the top of the thing.

    1. Fonant

      Re: The Repeater System

      1. AmenFromMars

        Re: The Repeater System

        Excellent link, but to answer your question, yes the submerged repeaters/amplifiers are powered from the landing stations. In coax cables power went down the centre conductor, in optical fibre cables the repeaters are powered over the copper tube that surrounds the fibres. The power needed is pretty high and can be dangerous, especially if a trawler pulls one up and thinks it is good idea to free their gear (expensive fishing nets) by cutting the cable. They do get cut and, as mentioned in the Wiki, measurements from land can give a good idea of where to send the cable ship, the last repeater responding also gives an indication. The ship grapples the cable and makes repairs on deck.

        1. Citizens untied

          Re: The Repeater System

          See Jaws 2.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: The Repeater System

          Additional interesting links are TeleGeography's Submarine Cable FAQ and their Submarine Cable Map (scriptblockers note: needs enabled for the latter).

    2. ratfox

      Re: The Repeater System

      how do the repeater stations get power to do the job?

      Boring: The cable contains an electric wire. Though if I remember correctly, only one; they just create a voltage with the ground at each end. And yeah, they generally pull the cable up, unless they're one of the special submarines used by the NSA to splice in-situ.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Repeater System

      Repeaters can also use the energy from a laser (I don't know how much this is done over an active device that needs electrical power on oceanic cables)

      Any underwater cable jockies that can enlighten us further?

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: The Repeater System

        Repeaters can also use the energy from a laser

        Not really. It's like AmenFromMars says. Onshore there's PFE (Power Feeding Equipment) in the landing stations along the cable*. The PFEs feed a lot of DC into the copper core that's a tube around the fibre core, with some hefty insulation between that and the outer armour wire and sheathing. Then every 150km or so there are the repeaters, aka 'torpedoes' that contain the repeaters that amplify and correct the fibre transmissions to regenerate & boost those for the next hop. The DC power is fed into the active components, then the repeater's jointed to the armour wire, wrapped and lowered back to the seabed.

        They're one of the fascinating bits of submarine cable systems. Like the limitation on the number of fibres carried. So a land-based cable would be 144 or 288f, but submarine only 8f, mainly due to the size & weight of the repeaters increases in line with the number of fibres. So more fibres, heavier repeater and then the strain that would put on the cable while it's being laid, or repeared, so a mechanical limit.

        *Some systems might have multiple landing stations along it's route, so use branching units to drop out transmissions to those landing stations.

  7. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Dunant joins the Curie cable – Google's other private transatlantic link named for Marie Curie, which links the US and Chile

    Not entirely sure how a TRANSATLANTIC link gets to Chile...

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      It was set up by a company named FibreAtlantic.

    2. Christoph

      It connects Los Angeles, California, and Valparaiso, Chile. Maybe it loops through the Panama Canal and back again?

  8. Trixr

    Best article on undersea cables

    If you only suffer from mild eyerolls at the mid-90s cyberpunk flourishes ("the hacker tourist"), Neal Stephenson's article at Wired (when Wired was still publishing good longform stuffg) is still the best on undersea cables:

  9. RichardB

    What's the bikini got to do with it?

    Does it go through an atoll or something?

  10. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    That infographic...

    I now have the strong impression that the cable is being built to link a Belgium town with a forest in Virginia, and the Atlantic is narrower and deeper than I thought, with three different types of water, separated by something other than density.

  11. Kev99 Silver badge

    Looking at the map it appears it would be substantially cheaper to draw up ashore in Maine or New Hampshire. Oh, wait. As Anonymous Coward said, what federal agency is in Virginia? It's not that far from Ft Mead, Maryland either.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      AWS too to be fair

  12. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    250 terabits per second

    That's a lot of very high definition porn. I don't think we really need that amount of detail.

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