In collaboration with Google, Facebook is planning to develop two new undersea cables to connect Singapore, Indonesia and North America to provide a better internet connection capacity between the regions. The company will also work on this project with regional telecommunication companies.
Facebook revealed the names of these cables as Echo and Bifrost, and said that they 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%.”
About the project investment, Kevin Salvadori, VP ofnetwrok Investments at Facebook said that the investment is “a very material one in Southeast Asia,” although he didn’t reveal the size of it.
Both the cables will directly connect North America to some of the main parts of Indonesia and will be the first ones to do so. They will be built to increase connectivity for the central and eastern provinces of the world’s fourth most populous country.
About Echo, Savladori said that the cable is being developed in partnership with Google and Indonesian telecommunications’ company XL Axiata. The cable is expected to be completed by the year 2023. The other one, Bifrost, is due to be completed by 2024, in partnership with Telin, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Telkom and Singaporean conglomerate Keppel.
Indonesia is one Facebook’s top five markets and the company has also previously invested in its current project for the two cables. There is lack of internet access in swathes of the country, while only less than 10 percent of the Indonesian population uses a broadband connection and majority uses mobile data for web access.
Alongside this project, Facebook had also been working on its broader subsea plans in Asia and globally. The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) is one of them, which was originally intended to link the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, but received resistance from the US government. As a result, Facebook announced that it would drop efforts to connect the cable between California and Hong Kong.