According to the latest news, tech giants Facebook and Google are planning to lay two huge subsea cables that will link the West Coast of the U.S. to Singapore and Indonesia. Significantly, the countries are Southeast Asia’s largest economy and home to an increasing number of smartphone users.
Facebook says that the Echo and Bifrost transpacific cables will boost the data capacity among the regions by 70% as well as internet reliability.
Facebook is investing in both cables. Meanwhile, Google is only investing in Echo. The cables need regulatory approval from the national governments involved.
According to Facebook’s Vice President of Network Investments Kevin Salvadori and Network Investment Manager Nico Roehrich, the company is enthusiastic to bring more people online to a faster internet. They have partnered with main regional and global partners in order to build two new subsea cables, named Echo and Bifrost.
Moreover, they say new cables will provide vital new connections among the Asia-Pacific region and North America. Partners include Indonesian companies Telin and XL Axiata and Singapore-based Keppel.
Echo will be complete by 2023, Bifrost – by 2024
Echo is likely to be finished by 2023, in partnership with Google and Indonesian telecoms firm XL Axiata. Meanwhile, Bifrost is set to be completed by 2024.
In May 2020, Facebook announced plans to build a 37,000-kilometer-long subsea cable around Africa in order to provide it with better internet access.
Search-giant Google is also working on an underwater cable – Equiano, which strives to connect Africa with Europe. Google has another unit called Loon, which makes high-altitude balloons that deliver 4G internet to rural communities. The company recently revealed an expansion of that scheme to Mozambique.
Facebook previously had plans to beam the internet to remote areas using solar-powered drones named Aquila. The social media company shuttered the project back in 2018. However, it has reportedly been working with Airbus to test similar drones again in Australia.