FASTER Cable and New Cross Pacific (NCP) are two newly announced trans-pacific submarine cable systems, both deploying with the state-of-the-air 100G technology. As SMW5 and AAE-1 are competing in the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe route, FASTER Cable and New Cross Pacific (NCP) are doing the same across the Pacific. With Google's leading as the Chair party of the Management Committee, the FASTER Consortium announced to build the 60 Tbps FASTER Cable in August. Consisting of five Asian carriers and one US-based company, the NCP consortium unveiled to build a new cable cross the Pacific, with a design capacity up to 80 Tbps. In this article, it is trying to compare the key features of the FASTER Cable and the New Cross Pacific (NCP) trans-pacific submarine cable system. 

Consortium members

The FASTER consortium comprises of 6 members, including China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Google, Global Transit 2 Limited, KDDI and SingTel. Global Transit 2 Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of TIME dotCom, a leading operator in Malaysia. Interestingly, when investing in a new cable, TIME dotCom seems to establish a new subsidiary for each cable project. Is there any special funding arrangement  for TIME dotCom to incorporate a new subsidiary for the FASTER Cable?

The NCP consortium comprises of 6 members as well, including Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation, three Chinese carriers and one US-based company as released by NCP consortium. Though it has not announced yet, the Chinese carriers should be China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, the only three carriers with cable landing licenses authorized by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China. As China Mobile and China Telecom have both participated in the FASTER Cable, China Unicom can't miss the NCP cable. While the US-based company is a new player, pending for further announcement.

China Telecom and China Mobile are two members invested in both the FASTER cable and the NCP cable.

Cable Landing Stations

The FASTER Cable hooks up Japan and the US, landing in Shima and Chikura in Japan and Bandon, Oregen in the US, according to announcement from TIME dotCom. And the FASTER Cable will be probably extended to other destinations in Asia. 

The FASTER Bandon cable landing station is located at Level Bandon data center, with Level's backhaul services, FASTER cable system reaches major hubs on the US West Coast covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas.

FASTER Cable Map

The NCP cable connects Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US, with 6 cable landing stations, two in mainland China, one in each of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.

The NCP cable lands at Pacific City cable landing station,where hosts only the PFE. SLTE of the NCP cable system is installed at the carrier-neutral Brookwood data center. The Asian Members of NCP consortium contracts with Zayo dark fiber services to build NCP backhaul extention to reach major hubs on the US West Coast covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas.

NCP Cable Map

Cable Length

The FASTER cable is approximately 9000 km.

The NCP cable is about 13,600 km. 

Initial Investment

The FASTER cable system is estimated to cost approximately USD $300 million, according to Google.

Though NCP consortium hasn't released the cost of the NCP cable system. Comparing cable length of FASTER cable system and NCP cable system, it can be estimated that the initial investment of the NCP cable system may be about US$450 million.  

Design Capacity

The FASTER cable system consists of 6 fiber pairs, each designed with 100*100 Gbps technology, with a total design capacity of 60Tbps.

The NCP cable system consist of 7 fbers over its trans-pacific trunk, each designed with 100-120*100Gbps, with up to 80 Tbps over its trans-pacific trunk and additional 120*100 Gbps over two fiber pairs on its intra-Asia ring.