The data must flow! Facebook and Google funding Apricot – a 12,000-kilometre sub cable across South-East-Asia

Nations from Indonesia to Japan to score 190 terabits per second of capacity some time in 2024

Google and Facebook will together build an underwater cable system to provide internet access to island nations stretching in an arc from Indonesia to Japan.

The project, dubbed Apricot, will connect Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia via a 12,000-kilometre-long submarine cable. The fiber-optic system is designed to carry more than 190 terabits per second, to better support 4G, 5G, and broadband connectivity across the region. The cable is expected to go live by 2024.

"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," Facebook stated.

It's not the first time Big Tech has teamed up to develop underwater sea internet cables. Facebook and Google are also working on the Echo and Bifrost cables connecting North America to Indonesia and Singapore through Guam. Apricot will join with Echo to provide a very fat pipe going all the way from California to the Japanese mainland.

Google's interest is supporting its cloud and consumer services. So far the Chocolate Factory has stakes in 18 submarine cables around the world.


Google's web of data links. Source: Google. Click to enlarge

"The 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," it said.

A separate submarine cable collaboration between Facebook and Amazon will connect the USA to the Philippines with the CAP-1 cable, a 12,000-kilometre long system capable of carrying up to 108 Tbit/sec by 2022.

Tech giants have also wired the Atlantic with projects like the Dunant cable that Google strung between France and the USA, and the MAREA cable that Facebook and Microsoft ran from Spain to America. ®

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