Facebook revealed that it has plans of two new undersea cables that will connect Singapore, Indonesia and North America. The company also revealed that this is a collaborative project with Google and some regional telecommunications company. This partnership will boost the internet connection capacity between these regions.
The undersea cables that Facebook plans to plant are called Echo and Bifrost. They will be the first two cables to travel a totally different route and will cross the Java Sea. According to Kevin Salvador; Facebook’s Vice President, these cables will increase the overall subsea capacity in the transpacific by about 70 percent. The Vice President did not reveal the investment size or go into deep details but one thing he said was the project is ‘a very material investment for us in Southeast Asia’.
Echo and Bifrost will make history as the first to directly connect North America to some of the main parts of Indonesia; this project will lead to a geometrical increase in connectivity for the central and eastern provinces.
Echo is being built in partnership with Google and XL Axiata (one of Indonesian’s telecommunications company). This project should be completed before the end of 2023. Bifrost on the other hand is being developed in a partnership with Teslin; a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Telkom, and Keppel which is a Singaporean conglomerate. This project should be completed by 2024.
This is not Facebook’s first attempt at improving connectivity in Indonesia which is one of its top five markets worldwide. These cables are part of Facebook’s overall plans and after getting regulatory approval when completed, will become active.
Facebook also has plans of going ahead with its broader subsea plans in Asia and with its Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), the Vice President for Facebook revealed. ‘We are working with partners and regulators to meet all of the concerns that people have, and we look forward to that cable being a valuable, productive, transpacific cable going forward in the near future’, he said.
Facebook also announced that it would stop its plans of connecting the cable between California and Hong Kong due to ‘ongoing concerns from the US Government about direct communication links between the United States and Hong Kong’.