Facebook and Google build new undersea cables


Facebook said on Monday that it plans to build two new undersea cables linking Singapore, Indonesia and North America in a project with Google and regional telecom companies to boost the ability of the Internet between regions.

Kevin Salvadori, Facebook's vice president for network investments said, these two cables are named Echo and Bifrost.

The cables, according to the executive, will be the first to connect North America directly to some major parts of Indonesia, and increase connectivity to the central and eastern provinces in the world's fourth most populous country.

Salvadori said, the Echo cable is being built in partnership with Google and the Indonesian telecom company XL Axiata, and is supposed to be completed by 2023.

While Bifrost, which is being implemented in partnership with Telin, a subsidiary of Indonesia's Telkom and Singaporean conglomerate Keppel, is set to be completed by 2024.

The two cables, which need regulatory approval, follow previous investments by Facebook to build connectivity in Indonesia, one of its five largest markets in the world. While 73 percent of Indonesia's 270 million people are online, the majority access the web through mobile data, with less than 10 percent using broadband.

Vast areas of the country remain without any internet connection, and Facebook said last year it was spreading 3,000 kilometers of fiber in Indonesia across twenty cities in addition to a previous deal to develop public wireless hotspots.

Salvadori said, aside from cables in Southeast Asia, Facebook has been continuing its broader undersea plans in Asia and the world, including PLCN. We are working with partners and regulators to satisfy all the concerns that people have, and we look forward to this cable being a valuable and productive cable across the Pacific Ocean going forward in the near future.

The 12,800-kilometer PLCN, funded by Facebook and Google, has met with resistance from the US government over plans to build a canal in Hong Kong, originally intended to connect the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Facebook said earlier this month, it is abandoning cable delivery efforts between California and Hong Kong due to persistent concerns from the US government about direct communication links between the United States and Hong Kong.

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