Facebook plans Echo, Bifrost transpacific submarine cables

March 29, 2021
The original Bifrost may be mythical, but the same shouldn't be said for the demand for connectivity across the Pacific.

Facebook, via a blog, has announced plans for a pair of transpacific submarine cables. Echo and Bifrost will connect the U.S. West Coast with Guam, Singapore, and Indonesia. The internet content provider says the two transpacific cables will be the first to use a new diverse route across the Java Sea and will increase overall transpacific capacity by 70%. Google will partner with Facebook on the Echo submarine network system.

Facebook says it also will work with Telin and XL Axiata of Indonesia and Keppel of Singapore on the projects. Telin (a.k.a. PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International) is an international communications services provider based in Indonesia, while XL Axiata provides mobile services in the region. Keppel is an infrastructure company.

Both submarine cables will complement infrastructure builds Facebook has announced in the South Pacific. For example, the company has partnered with Alita, a telecom network services provider in Indonesia, to deploy 3,000 km of metro fiber in 20 cities in Bali, Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi. Meanwhile, Facebook has launched construction of a pair of new data centers in Singapore.

For its part, Google reveals that Echo will land on the U.S. side in Eureka, CA. In addition to landings in Singapore, Guam, and Indonesia (the last of which Google described as part of “plans"), the submarine cable system may also see other landings in the future as well. Google asserts Echo will be the first such system to connect the U.S. to Singapore with direct fiber pairs over an express route. Google says it expects Echo to be ready for service in 2023.

A Facebook source told Reuters that Bifrost will be ready for services in 2024. Bifrost, in Norse mythology, is the bridge that connects Asgard, the land of the gods, with Midgard, the world of humans.

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