Security concerns threaten an undersea cable backed by Google and Facebook - WSJ

An undersea cable between Los Angeles and Hong Kong may not get the U.S. Department of Justice's approval due to security concerns. (Pixabay)

U.S. officials are seeking to block an undersea cable that is being backed by Google, Facebook and a Chinese partner on national security grounds.

According to a story on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it's opposed to the project because of concerns over its Chinese investor, Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co., and the direct link that the cable would provide to Hong Kong, according to people involved in the discussion.

Ships have already installed most of the 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network across the seafloor between the Hong Kong and Los Angeles. The Justice Department leads a multi-agency panel that reviews telecommunications matters. To date, the installation work has been conducted under a temporary permit expiring in September, according to the Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the review say it is in danger of failing to win the necessary license to conduct business because of the objections coming from the panel, known as Team Telecom.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceTelecom!

The Telecom industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceTelecom as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on the intersection of telecom and media. Sign up today to get telecom news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

RELATED: Despite U.S. ban, Huawei reports year-over-year revenue growth of 23%

The tension over the undersea cable could be another symptom of the ongoing trade war tension with China, as both the U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on each other.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Team Telecom has approved past cable projects, including ones directly linking the U.S. to mainland China or involving state-owned Chinese telecom operators. If the U.S. rejects Pacific Light’s application, it would be the first time it has ever denied an undersea cable license based on national security grounds, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Suggested Articles

On the heels of TalkTalk shareholders approving the deal to sell FibreNation to CityFibre, CityFibre is now targeting 8 million premises in the U.K.

Cisco's Kevin Wollenweber has turned into a COVID-19 sleuth of sorts over the past few weeks as he tracks the virus' impact on networks.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to organizations of all sizes sending their employees home for work, but will they want to return to the office?