Google and Facebook abandon plans to lay submarine cable from US to Hong Kong
Google and Facebook have abandoned plans to lay an undersea Internet cable between the United States and Hong Kong (Pacific Light Cable Network, PLCN). Bloomberg writes about it.
The companies withdrew their application from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and filed a new one. It provides for connections with Taiwan and the Philippines and excludes the Hong Kong company Pacific Light Data Communication Co. from the project.
Bloomberg clarifies that the US intelligence services and the US Department of Justice in June asked the FCC to reject the application, since the communication channel with Hong Kong will give China the opportunity to obtain personal data of Americans. According to intelligence agencies, Hong Kong’s Pacific Light Data is linked to Chinese intelligence.
FCC Commissioner Jeffrey Starks said he shares these concerns. The commission, he said, must ensure that “our traffic is safe and secure.”
A spokesman for Alphabet (Google’s parent company) told Bloomberg that the company continues to work “through approved channels.” A Facebook spokesperson redirected the agency to the FCC.
The Financial Times (FT) reported in June that Google is considering Singapore as an alternative to Hong Kong in the PLCN project.
The PLCN is estimated at $ 300 million, according to the FT. The cable is needed to significantly speed up data transfers between the United States and China.