The internet giant Google will be expanding its empire with two more undersea internet cables that will connect the Middle East and Europe through Israel, the company announced last week.
The project was made possible – and more cost effective – by the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreement between Israel and two Gulf states signed in September. One of Google’s cables will be routed across the Middle East, under the Red Sea and into Israel, making it the company’s longest running cable.
The two new cables – expected to go online in 2024 – will boost network capacity between the Middle East, Europe and Asia. One will connect Israel to Italy, France and Greece while the other will connect Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman and India.
“Developing additional network capacity and routes is critical to Google users and customers around the globe, who depend on robust connectivity to power their online lives, and communicate with friends, family and business partners,” the company said in a statement. “Google users and Google Cloud customers will benefit from increased capacity and decreased latency to regions in the area.”
Parts of the cable will connect on land with the help of an Israeli company.
Of the 18 different submarine cables, Google owns a portion of most of them, along with Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. Google’s undersea web cables run under every continent except Antarctica.
At issue, as we reported back in November, was permission to run a line through Saudi Arabia into Israel rather than reroute through Egypt, which would have made the cable longer and more expensive. Though Saudi Arabia has not joined the Accords, it has allowed Israel use of its airspace and now this cable connection. Earlier reports had the proposed 5,000-mile cable at a $400-million price tag.
The deal will make Google more competitive as a cloud-based service provider, offering better speed and capacity to its users.
That is good news for the Israeli government which is one of Google Cloud’s new customers. Israel chose Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide cloud services in what has been called the Nimbus Project.
Israel’s Ministry of Finance signed the seven-year contract Google and AWS and will begin transferring Israeli government data to the “cloud” including military documents and personal data such as taxes and welfare status.
The four-phase project aims to deliver cloud services for the Israeli public sector and military.
Google and AWS beat out Microsoft, IBM and Oracle for the project.
Nimbus will establish four cloud sites in Israel, keeping the data within Israeli borders.
“The cloud services will be hosted by local cloud providers. The data stored on them will remain within Israel’s borders under strict data security regulations overseen by the relevant government offices,” the Finance Ministry said in April.
“Project Nimbus is our flagship multi-year plan and the first of its kind. The project is intended to provide the government, the defense establishment and others with an all encompassing cloud solution,” the ministry said, but it “would require serious investment in infrastructure and advancing the Israeli ecosystem in terms of cloud technology.”
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.