Called "Pacific Light Cable Network" (PLCN), the underwater fiber optic cable that was supposed to link Los Angeles to Hong Kong will finally not be built. This is indeed what Facebook and Google have just announced. The new plans for this cable filed with the U.S. telecom police, the FCC, indicate that it will connect only the United States to Taiwan and the Philippines.
This project, initially announced in 2016, was intended to connect Hong Kong directly to Los Angeles via six pairs of optical fibers. It had to be redesigned in a hurry to get approval from the US regulator, whose management is said to be close to the Trump administration.
Three companies share ownership of the consortium: Google owns one pair of fibers with a branch to Taiwan, Facebook owns another pair with branches to the Philippines, and the Hong Kong Pacific Light Data Co (PLDC) has control over all the remaining pairs and acts as the landing point in Hong Kong.
And it is this last part that poses a problem for the FCC. The FCC has therefore refused to operate this submarine cable system connecting directly to Hong Kong, arguing that it would be contrary to U.S. national security interests.
The U.S. Telecom Constabulary also argued that the high capacity and low latency of the network would encourage U.S. communications traffic crossing the Pacific to detour through Hong Kong before reaching its intended destination, unnecessarily increasing the amount of data passing through the Chinese government-controlled infrastructure. This has forced Google and Facebook to revise their plans.
"We can confirm that the original application for the PLCN cable system has been withdrawn, and a revised application has been submitted.... We continue to work through established channels to obtain landing licenses for our submarine cables," said Google management, interviewed by ZDNet editors.
The initial project had the potential to attract many U.S. companies to expand their customer base in Asia. The current tensions between Beijing and Washington are claiming other victims...
Source : ZDNet