In a bid to improve internet connectivity and reliability in the Asia-Pacific region, Facebook and Google have jointly announced the 'Apricot' undersea cable project. Scheduled to go online by 2024, the project will also improve the connectivity between Asia and North America, Google said in a recent blog post.
Apart from the two Big Tech companies, the project also involves some regional players, Facebook said in its press release. The 7456-mile (12,000 km) cable will connect six Asian countries that are Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore while sporting a configuration that offers flexibility in trunk and branch capacity, the social networking company said. The cables can support data transfer speeds of more than 190 terabits per second.
Earlier this year, Facebook had announced another undersea cable project consisting of two Trans-Pacific cables, Echo and Bifrost that would connect Singapore to North America and increasing the traffic capacity by 70 percent on this route, the company had stated. Together, these cables are expected to help meet the growing demand for broadband, 4G, and 5G services in the Asia region. Facebook has partnered with Google for the Echo cable but not Bifrost.
The first undersea cable was laid in 1858 to transmit telegraphic messages and needed help from governments in the US and the UK. In recent years, however, the task of laying the cables has been taken up by private enterprises. Google has a large network of 18 undersea cables that also keep its cloud services accessible from any part of the globe. Facebook has recently announced another undersea cable project to improve connectivity in Africa. After a lull during the pandemic, the undersea cable projects have picked up the pace with 80 percent of the projects being financed by Facebook and Google.
98 percent of global internet traffic is routed through undersea cables and as more activities move online, the need for faster and reliable internet is on the rise. The new project could help meet the global demands.