Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it was building an undersea cable that would connect the United States, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, to bolster internet connection capacity between these regions.

The cable, called Firmina, will be the longest cable in the world, Google said in a blog post, adding that it will run from the East Coast of the United States to Las Toninas, Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay.

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“Firmina will improve access to Google services for users in South America. With 12 fiber pairs, the cable will carry traffic quickly and securely between North and South America, giving users fast, low-latency access to Google products such as Search, Gmail and YouTube, as well as Google Cloud services,” Google said.

The cable will also have safeguards to prevent issues due to power failure – Firmina will be the longest cable in the world to run completely using a single power source at one end of the cable if its other power sources are temporarily unavailable, the company said. 

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The announcement also comes amid a surge in demand for internet and cloud services as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more work, shopping and entertainment online. The cable is named after Maria Firmina dos Reis (1825 – 1917), a Brazilian abolitionist, author and intellectual. 

The Firmina cable brings Google’s investments in subsea cables up to 16, including the Dunant, Equiano and Grace Hopper cables, as well as ‘consortium’ cables like Echo, JGA, INDIGO, and Havfrue.

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