After canceling plans for undersea cables connecting the United States with Hong Kong because of U.S. government pressure, Facebook and Google now say they will run similar cables to Singapore and Indonesia.
“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’s vice president of network investments, Kevin Salvadori, told the Reuters news agency.
Salvadori would not comment on the cost of the project.
He said the Echo cable, which is being built in partnership with Google and Indonesian telecommunications company XL, would be completed by 2023.
Bifrost, which is being done in partnership with Telin, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Telkom, and Singapore’s Keppel Corporation, should be completed by 2024, he said.
Both projects will need regulatory approval.
Most Indonesians who have internet access get it via mobile phones, Reuters reported, adding that only 10% have broadband access. Many have no access at all.
Facebook said plans for the cable to Hong Kong were scrapped because the U.S. government cited national security concerns about direct communication links to Hong Kong.
Facebook and Google are involved in other cable projects around the world.
Facebook announced last May that it was going to build a 37,000-kilometer-long undersea cable around Africa.
Google’s project, the Equiano undersea cable, could connect Europe and Africa when finished.