New undersea cables for Facebook and Google

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Facebook inc. said Monday that it plans to build two new undersea cables to connect Singapore, Indonesia and North America in a project with Google and regional telecommunications companies to boost interregional Internet connectivity.

« These undersea cables are named Echo and Bifrost, and they are the first cables to pass through a new diverse route across the Java Sea and increase total undersea capacity in the Pacific by about 70 percent, » said Kevin Salvadori, Facebook’s vice president of network investments.

The undersea cables connect North America and Indonesia :

According to the executive branch, the undersea cables are the first to connect North America directly to some key parts of Indonesia, increasing connectivity to the central and eastern provinces of the world’s fourth most populous country.

New undersea cables

« Echo cable is being built in partnership with Google and Indonesian telecommunications company XL Axiata and is scheduled to be completed by 2023, » Said Salvaduri.

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

The cables, which need regulatory approval, follow facebook’s previous investments to build connectivity in Indonesia, one of the world’s top five markets.

While 73 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people are connected to the Internet, the majority access the web through mobile data, with less than 10 percent using broadband connectivity.

Large swathes of the country remain without internet access, and Facebook said last year that it is deploying 3,000 kilometers of fibre in Indonesia across 20 cities, in addition to a previous deal to develop public wireless network hotspots.

« Apart from cables in Southeast Asia, Facebook has been pursuing its broader undersea plans in Asia and the world, including PLCN, » Salvadori said.

« We are working with partners and regulators to address all the concerns that people have, and we look forward to this cable being a valuable and productive trans-Pacific cable to move forward in the near future, » he said.

The 12,800-kilometer PLCN, funded by Facebook and Google, met with u.S. government resistance over plans to build a canal in Hong Kong, originally aimed at connecting the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Facebook said earlier this month that it was abandoning cable connectivity efforts between California and Hong Kong due to continuing concerns from the U.S. government about direct u.S.-Hong Kong connectivity.

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