Google and Facebook get involved in another new APAC subsea cable

A new subsea cable that will ensure Taiwan stays connected to the rest of the reason is being championed by US internet giants Google and Facebook.

The cable system is called Apricot, for some reason, and when it comes online in 2024 it will link Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. It represents another US-funded APAC connectivity initiative that doesn’t include China, with the inclusion of Taiwan especially significant given China’s claims on the island.

Earlier this year the two US internet giants collaborated over a couple of trans-Pacific cables, so this feels like an extension of that, ensuring the whole of East Asia can remain connected to the US and the rest of the world in the event of things taking a regional turn for the worse.

“The Echo and Apricot cables are complementary submarine systems that will offer benefits with multiple paths in and out of Asia, including unique routes through southern Asia, ensuring a significantly higher degree of resilience for Google Cloud and digital services,” said Bikash Koley, Head of Google Global Networking. “Together they’ll provide businesses and startups in Asia with lower latency, more bandwidth, and increased resilience in their connectivity between Southeast Asia, North Asia and the United States.”

“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 Nico Roehrich, Network Investments Manager at Facebook.

We’re not sure what they mean but Roehrich’s claims certainly sound impressive. Of course neither company made reference to China, but its absence from this project is conspicuous. We’re likely to see increasing collaboration between US tech giants and the US government over the course of this administration, as it seeks to make itself ever more economically independent from China.

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