Google and Facebook to connect Japan and Southeast Asia

Google, Facebook, and Philippines-based telecommunications provider PLDT are set to build a new undersea cable that will connect Japan and Southeast Asia.

The 12,000km cable, dubbed “Apricot”, will have a capacity of 190 terabytes a second and will service Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

Apricot is set to be finalised in 2024 at an unknown cost, though PLDT are set to invest $80 million in the project.

Facebook said the cable will help to meet demands for 4G, 5G, internet capacity, redundancy, and reliability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The project is still subject to regulatory approvals.

The news comes after Google and Facebook announced in March that they are building the “Echo” and “Bifrost” cables which will connect North America to Indonesia and Singapore via Guam.

Southeast Asia is one of the most rapidly digitalising regions on earth, for example, mobile wallet is set to grow by 311 per cent by 2025 in Southeast Asia according to Boku – the highest growth of any region in the world.

"Apricot will feature a state-of-the-art submersible reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer employing wavelength selective switch for a gridless and flexible bandwidth configuration, based on space division multiplexing design," said a Facebook spokesperson.

“The construction of this Apricot cable system is vital to the Philippine economy with rapidly increasing data traffic and is aligned with our efforts to make the Philippines a strategic data centre hub in the region,” said Alfredo Panlilio, president and chief executive of PLDT.

“Apricot is key to enhancing network resilience because new cable landing stations in Luzon and Mindanao will be built as part of this submarine cable system,” added Gene Sanchez, vice president and international facilities investments management head at PLDT. “With the cable to be routed via the eastern coast of the Philippines, it will also increase the submarine cable route diversity in the Asia-Pacific region."

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