Google has announced plans to build a new submarine fiber optic cable connecting the United States and Europe.

The Grace Hopper Cable, named after a computer programming pioneer and Rear-Admiral in the United States Navy. 

In a YouTube video announcement, Google stated that the Grace Hopper Cable will be equipped with 16 fiber pairs and will incorporate advances in optical fiber switching that allow for increased reliability in global communications.  These will enable Google to move traffic around if demand changes or if there are connectivity issues.  The company said that this is the first time this technology has been deployed and is part of what makes Grace Hopper so unique, and noted that Google is continuously working to advance technologies like this to improve subsea network resiliency. 

The Grace Hopper Cable will run from the US to the United Kingdom and Spain and Google’s customers will benefit from this cable by better network resilience and reliability.  It will join the other private cables in Google’s network: Curie, Dunant and Equino.  It will further connect Google Cloud regions and Google’s customers to one another. 

When it is completed in 2022, the Grace Hopper cable will be one of only a handful of new cables to connect the US and the UK since 2003, when the transatlantic route was saturated by overbuilding during the cable boom around the turn of the century.  It will also mark the first investment by Google in a subsea cable network to Spain. 

The Grace Hopper Cable will also be better able to connect America, the UK and the rest of Europe with the Equiano cable which is currently under construction between Portugal and the West Coast of Africa.  It will increase capacity on this busy transatlantic global crossroad and power Google services such as Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud. 

Grace Hopper is a fascinating individual from the early days of computing.  To learn more about her, check out this story from Yale University, where she received her Ph.D.