Google, Facebook tackle new subsea cable routes in Asia, Africa

underwater cable ship
Google said its latest cable is expected to be ready for service in 2024. (Tomassino/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Google and the 2Africa consortium, a group comprised of Facebook and seven operator partners, separately announced plans to expand their subsea cable networks in Asia and Africa.  

Named Apricot, Google said its latest cable is expected to be ready for service in 2024 and will connect Singapore, Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia. It is designed to complement a cable called Echo which Google is jointly funding with Facebook that is set to connect the U.S., Singapore, Guam and Indonesia. Echo, which was announced in March, is expected to go into service in 2023.

Facebook said in a blog it is also involved in the Apricot project and stated the cable will have an “initial design capacity of more than 190 terabits per second to meet rising data demands in the region.”

Together, Google noted Echo and Apricot will provide multiple paths in and out of Asia and offer businesses in the region “lower latency, more bandwidth and increased resilience in their connectivity between Southeast Asia, North Asia and the United States.”

RELATED: Google gets to work on its sixth private subsea cable

Other cables Google announced earlier this year include Firmina, which will run between the U.S. and South America, and Blue and Raman, which is it deploying alongside operator Sparkle and others to connect the Middle East with Southern Europe and Asia.

Google previously said the latter brought its tally of cable investments to 18, which would make Apricot number 19.

2Africa

Meanwhile, the 2Africa consortium announced it is adding four new branches to a subsea cable project which aims to circumnavigate the continent of Africa and connect it to Europe and the Middle East.

The 2Africa consortium is comprised of Facebook and operators China Mobile, MTN, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC). The group originally revealed the undertaking in May 2020, claiming it to be one of the largest subsea cable projects in the world.

New branches will extend connectivity to the Seychelles, the Comoros Islands and Angloa, and add a landing point in Nigeria. All told, the project is now set to include 35 landings in 26 countries, up from the 21 landings in 16 countries originally envisioned.

The cable network is set to go live in late 2023.