Google, Facebook, Backing Submarine Cables To Expand Internet In Southeast Asia

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Google Inc – Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) are backing two submarine cable projects to increase internet control in the Southeast Asia region.

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Gigantic Projects

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is taking part in the Apricot project, a 12,000-kilometer submarine cable that will connect Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Guam, the Philippines, and Singapore.

It is expected to start operating by 2024, and it will help meet the demand for 4G, 5G, and broadband access in these countries.

If the project is completed successfully, Apricot will be part of a 400-submarine cables network that covers more than 1.1 million kilometers and represents 99% of the world’s internet traffic.

Earlier this year, Google also announced the launch of the Echo submarine cable, which is intended to connect Singapore, Guam, and Indonesia with the U.S.

“Echo and Apricot are complementary systems that will deliver multi-path benefits in and out of Asia ensuring a significantly higher degree of resilience for Google Cloud and digital services,” the company said.

“Together they will provide businesses with lower latency [the time it takes for information to be transmitted over the network], more bandwidth, and greater resilience in their connectivity between Southeast Asia, North Asia, and the U.S.”

According to firm Analysys Mason, Google’s network investments have generated an additional $430,000 million to Asia Pacific’s GDP, and 1,1 million additional jobs. Further, in 2022, the company is taking part in the Grace Hooper project, intended to connect the U.S., the U.K., and Spain.

Augmenting Capacity

With Apricot, Facebook is aiming at a 190 terabit per second capacity, and expects it to be “an example of our innovative partnership model, in which all parties benefit from the development of infrastructure at scale and shared technological expertise.”

Nothing has been said regarding investment figures, but PLDT Inc (NYSE:PHI), a Philippine telecommunications company, announced a total of $80 million for the project.

“The construction of Apricot is vital to the Philippine economy and is aligned with our efforts to make the Philippines a strategic data center in the region,” said Alfredo Panlilio, president and CEO of the company.

The technological impact of similar projects has spread to the international arena. As reported by the Financial Times, the Pacific Light Cable network project, also funded by Facebook and Google, was canceled in September 2020 after Washington warned of the danger that China could gain access to data.

Google and Facebook are part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.