By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc have sought U.S. government approval to operate a new submarine data cable between the Philippines and California after China Mobile abandoned the project, a government agency said on Friday. .
Both companies told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they intend to begin commercial operation in late 2022 and that the new data connection will provide significant new capacity on routes where demand continues. increasing substantially every year.
The companies said in a joint presentation that the new cable will help support Facebook applications and give Amazon and its affiliates the ability to support Amazon’s cloud services and connect their data centers.
Amazon, Facebook and China Mobile did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s role in managing network traffic and the potential for espionage. Around 300 submarine cables form the backbone of the Internet and carry 99% of the world’s data traffic.
In September 2020, Facebook, Amazon and China Mobile withdrew their application to connect San Francisco and Hong Kong as part of the ‘Bay to Bay Express Cable System’.
In April 2020, the FCC approved a request by Google – a unit of Alphabet Inc – to use part of a submarine telecommunications cable between the United States and Asia, which excluded Hong Kong, after US agencies raised national security concerns. .
Google agreed to operate a portion of the nearly 13,000-kilometer Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, but not to Hong Kong. Google and Facebook helped pay for the construction of the full link, but US regulators have blocked its use. In August 2020, the firms dropped the proposal to use the Hong Kong portion.