On Monday, Facebook stated that it proposed two new undersea cables to combine Singapore, Indonesia, and North America in a project with Google and regional telecommunication companies to increase internet connection capacity between the regions.
“Named Echo and Bifrost, those will be the first two cables to go through a new diverse route crossing the Java Sea and they will increase overall subsea capacity in the trans-pacific by about 70%,” Facebook Vice President of Network Investments, Kevin Salvadori, told. He refused to define the extent of the investment, but said it was “a very material investment for us in Southeast Asia.”The cables, according to the official, will be the first to instantly join North America to some of the principal parts of Indonesia and will improve connectivity for the central and eastern regions of the world’s fourth most populated nation.
Salvadori stated that “Echo” is being made in partnership with Alphabet’s Google and Indonesian telecommunications’ company XL Axiata and should be finished by 2023. Bifrost, which is being executed in partnership with Telin, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Telkom, and Singaporean conglomerate Keppel is expected to be finished by 2024. The two cables, which will require administrative support, comfort prior investments by Facebook to make up connectivity in Indonesia, one of its top five markets globally.
While 73% of Indonesia’s population of 270 million are online, the majority way the web through mobile data, with less than 10 percent using a broadband link, according to a 2020 survey by the Indonesian Internet Providers Association. Facebook stated last year it would extend 3,000 km (1,8641 miles) of fiber in Indonesia over twenty cities in addition to a previous contract to promote public Wi-Fi hot spots.
Apart from the Southeast Asian cables, Facebook was proceeding with its more widespread subsea projects in Asia and globally, including with the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), Salvadori said.”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 shortly,” he said.
The 12,800 km PLCN, which is being financed by Facebook and Alphabet, had joined U.S government protection over proposals for a Hong Kong conduit. It was meant to connect the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Facebook said earlier this month it would release efforts to join the cable between California and Hong Kong due to “ongoing concerns from the U.S. government about direct communication links between the United States and Hong Kong”.