Google and Facebook's new cable to link Japan and South-east Asia

Alphabet’s Google and Facebook announced their participation in a new subsea cable system for 2024 set to improve Internet connectivity across the Asia-Pacific region.

The project, called “Apricot,” plans to lay 12,000 km (7,456 miles) of cable connecting Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore, according to a press release from Google on Monday.

The system should come online in 2024, it said.

Dubbed Apricot, the infrastructure project will link Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Indonesia and help serve growing demand for broadband access and 5G wireless connectivity, Facebook said.

In March, the company announced two new trans-Pacific subsea cables connecting Singapore to the United States West Coast, Bifrost and Echo, with Google participating in the latter.

The Echo and Apricot cables are complementary submarine systems, Google said in a blog post, and will improve the resilience of Google Cloud and the company’s other digital services. The new fiber-optic link spanning the Asia-Pacific has an initial design capacity of more than 190 terabits per second, according to Facebook.

Both Silicon Valley giants have been investing in building out internet infrastructure in the regions they see offering the highest growth potential, with Google last year announcing a $10 billion spending plan to help India’s digitization push over the next five to seven years.

Facebook and Google have both already laid thousands of miles of undersea internet cable together, and are in the process of laying thousands of miles more.

Google announced in June it would lay a cable linking the US East Coast to Argentina, and both companies announced in March they were funding two cables hooking up the US West Coast with Singapore and Indonesia.

Over the course of 2020 and early 2021, Google and Facebook both scrapped numerous projects linking the US with Hong Kong in response to political pressure with the US government, which cited security concerns.