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Facebook, Google plan new undersea cables to connect Southeast Asia and America

"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 Reuters.

March 29, 2021 / 10:14 AM IST
File image: A man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York, US. Australia’s laws forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news are ready to take effect, though the laws' architect said it will take time for the digital giants to strike media deals. (Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

File image: A man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York, US. Australia’s laws forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news are ready to take effect, though the laws' architect said it will take time for the digital giants to strike media deals. (Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Facebook said on Monday it planned two new undersea cables to connect Singapore, Indonesia and North America in a project with Google and regional telecommunication companies to boost 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 Reuters.

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

Salvadori said "Echo" is being built in partnership with Alphabet's Google and Indonesian telecommunications' company XL Axiata and should be completed by 2023.

Bifrost, which is being done in partnership with Telin, a subsidiary of Indonesia's Telkomsel, and Singaporean conglomerate Keppel is due to be completed by 2024.

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The two cables, which will need regulatory approval, follow previous investments by Facebook to build up connectivity in Indonesia, one of its top five markets globally.

While 73% of Indonesia's population of 270 million are online, the majority access the web through mobile data, with less than 10 percent using a broadband connection, according to a 2020 survey by the Indonesian Internet Providers Association.

Swathes of the country, remain without any internet access.

Facebook said last year it would deploy 3,000 km (1,8641 miles) of metro fibre in Indonesia across twenty cities in addition to a previous deal to develop public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Reuters
first published: Mar 29, 2021 10:02 am

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