Tech giants Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc have sought approval from the United States government for starting operations of a new undersea data cable between the Philippines and California following the exit of China Mobile from the plan, said a US government agency.
In a communiqué with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the two companies expressed their intention to begin commercial operation of the undersea data cable by late 2022. The companies said the new data connection will add on significant new capacity on routes where there is continued sustainable increase in capacity demand.
While supporting the applications of Facebook, the new cable will also provide the capacity to support Amazon’s cloud services and connect its data centers for Amazon and its affiliates, the companies said in a joint filing.
The project parties agreed “the best path forward to complete the construction and bring the… cable system into operation was to restructure the system ownership, allowing the parties to deliver on the goal of bringing connectivity to more people and regions,” said a Facebook spokeswoman.
There were no comments on the issue available from Amazon and China Mobile.
Concerns about the role of China while handling network traffic and possibility for espionage have repeatedly been raised by United States. The backbone of global internet comprises of about 300 subsea cables which carry about 99 per cent of all the data traffic of the world.
Their application of connecting San Francisco and Hong Kong was withdrawn by Facebook, Amazon and China Mobile in September 2020. That project is a part of the Bay to Bay Express Cable System. A separate FCC application for a Hong Kong to California cable was also withdrawn by Facebook in March.
Alphabet Inc unit Google’s request was approved by the FCC in April 2020 which allows the US search engine giant to use part of a US-Asia undersea telecommunications cable that did not include Hong Kong. The approval as given after national security concerns ere raised by US agencies.
Operating a portion of this 8,000-mile (12,875-km) Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, excluding Hong Kong, was agreed to by Google. Investment for the a portion of this 8,000-mile (12,875-km) Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan had been made by Google and Facebook. But its usage was blocked by US regulators.
The proposal to use the Hong Kong portion was abandoned by the companies in August 2020.
A unanimous vote at the FCC in May 2019 amounted to China Mobile being denied the right to provide services in the United States because of risks that the Chinese government could use the approval to conduct espionage against the U.S. government
(Adapted from SCMP.com)