Google and Facebook are currently locked in two huge subsea cables project using a “new diverse route” across the Java Sea and connecting Singapore and Indonesia to North America.
Called ‘Echo’ and ‘Bifrost’, The two trans-Pacific cables called Echo and Bifrost will increase data capacity by 70% and improve internet reliability in South East Asia.
While Facebook is investing in both projects, Google is only investing in Echo, which also involves Indonesian telecommunications provider XL Axiata and is expected to be completed in 2023.
Bifrost will include the Singapore-based Keppel Midgard Holdings and Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) as local partners.
In a company blog, Facebook said “around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for reliable internet access. The internet has enabled people around the world to remain connected while apart, continue their education, take care of their health, and be productively employed.
“In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, the demand for 4G, 5G, and broadband access is rapidly increasing. Echo and Bifrost will support further growth for hundreds of millions of people and millions of businesses. We know that economies flourish when there is widely accessible internet for people and businesses.
“Not only will Echo and Bifrost be the first transpacific cables through a new diverse route crossing the Java Sea, but they also will increase overall transpacific capacity by 70 percent. Connecting Singapore, Indonesia, and North America, these cable investments reflect our commitment to openness and our innovative partnership model.”
Facebook and Google are also reportedly funding the 12,800km-long Pacific Light Cable Network, a project that has faced resistance by the United States government in the past due to plans that involved Hong Kong.
In March, Reuters reported that Facebook will not connect California and Hong Kong due to “ongoing concerns” from the US.
The cables, as per reports, will be the first to directly connect North America to parts of Indonesia and will increase connectivity for the central and eastern provinces of the world’s fourth most populous country. The cables will also boost operations of Google and Facebook, which have their data centres in Singapore.