Google has announced a $1 billion investment in digital connectivity to Japan, which includes the expansion of the Pacific Connect initiative and the deployment of two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei.

In collaboration with partners such as KDDI, ARTERIA, Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), these cables aim to establish new fiber-optic routes between the continental U.S. and Japan. This effort supports Google’s Japan Digitization Initiative and seeks to improve the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity between the U.S., Japan, and multiple Pacific Island countries and territories.

The Proa subsea cable from NEC will connect Japan, the CNMI, and Guam. Named after the traditional sailing canoes of the Marianas, Proa will be the CNMI’s first international subsea cable. To further enhance regional reliability, the NEC cable system Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. (TPU) will be extended to the CNMI. Together, Proa and TPU will establish a new route between the continental U.S. and Shima, Japan.

Taihei, which translates to “peace” and “Pacific Ocean” in Japanese, is another NEC cable that will connect Japan to Hawaii. Additionally, the Tabua cable will be extended to Hawaii, complementing plans to connect the continental U.S. to Fiji and Australia. Once complete, Taihei and Tabua will create a diverse path from the continental U.S. to Takahagi, Japan.

Google will also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. This interlink will connect the transpacific routes, enhancing their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.

Gov. Arnold I. Palacios of the CNMI highlighted the significance of the Proa cable in connecting and preserving cultural heritage. Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke of Hawaii noted the alignment of the initiative with Hawaii’s Connect Kākou plan to ensure reliable and affordable high-speed internet. Governor Lou Leon Guerrero of Guam emphasized the potential for the project to transform internet connectivity and support economic security in the region.

Studies estimate that Google’s network infrastructure investments in Japan have driven over $400 million in GDP in the past decade. Increased access to digital services is expected to benefit skill development and career opportunities, while businesses and public sector organizations will be better equipped to serve their communities.

These initiatives are anticipated to bring significant long-term benefits, and Google will continue to work with partners to reduce the digital divide across the Pacific region.