Google's Europe to India cable Blue Raman costs $400 million

28 December 2020 3 min. read

Google is laying an 8,000 kilometer plus fibre-optic cable that will connect Italy to India, at a reported development cost of $400 million.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal suggest that the 8,000 km cable network will be divided into two segments: one will start from Genoa, and cross the Mediterranean Sea and Israel before reaching Aqaba in Jordan; while the other will begin from Mumbai and cross the Indian Ocean and Saudi Arabia before reaching Aqaba to join the other segment.

In keeping with a tradition of naming its internet cables after famous scientists, Google has labeled the latest cable network ‘Blue Raman,’ in honour of Indian physicist and Nobel laureate Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. ‘Blue’ reportedly describes the first segment of the cable, while Raman refers to the second.

Google's Europe to India cable Blue Raman costs $400 million

Using estimates from projects at similar scale, Salience Consulting – a Dubai-based communications company – has pegged the cost of Blue Raman at $400 million. While the project remains in the planning phase, the Wall Street Journal noted that two major telecom companies – Telecom Italia and Oman Telecommunications – will be involved as partners. Partly financing the project, the two companies will also leverage the newly established fibre-optic infrastructure upon completion.

The network infrastructure race

The submarine cable network will be of tremendous value to telecom players across Europe and Asia Pacific (APAC), particularly at a time when the rate of internet connectivity is far exceeding the rate of infrastructure development. APAC, for instance is achieving unprecedented rates of mobile penetration in a vast, young population, and the region is in urgent need of network capacity to meet this demand.

Add to this the overwhelming digital transformation unfolding across the world, which puts further pressure on connectivity frameworks. For instance, APAC has been positioned by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a global growth leader in cloud computing – often labeled the gateway technology to digital transformation. Also widely noted about cloud technology is its heavy reliance on data centres and network capacity.

For tech giants – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. – all these factors add up to present a tremendous investment opportunity. With their stronghold on the internet landscape, these companies stand only to benefit from wider connectivity, and they are locking horns for dominance of network infrastructure.

In fact, a recent report from Analysys Mason revealed that Google has funneled $2 billion into infrastructure investments across APAC since 2010, which have cumulatively yielded and economic benefit of more than $400 billion for the region. Facebook has been engaged in similar efforts. Through its range of investments in global links, data centres, fibre optic cables and access networks, the social networking giant has itself contributed $70 billion to the ASEAN economy according to Analysys Mason.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon and Microsoft have led the charge when it comes to cloud computing, although the latest cable between Italy and India might well allow Google to catch up in this space, paving the way for the setup of data centres across the region.