Facebook Announces Plans to Connect Asia and America Through Underground Cables

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The new Bifrost and Echo cables will create a connection between the US and Southeast Asia.

Facebook recently announced plans to run two undersea cables to boost capacity and connectivity between Asia and North America. The two cables, called Echo and Bifrost, will increase transpacific capacity by 70%. The wires are also the first direct connection between the United States and Singapore. 


The two cables will also be the first transpacific lines to pass through a new route through the Java Sea, according to a joint-post by Kevin Salvadori and Nico Roehrich, the director and manager of network investments at Facebook. Echo and Bifrost will connect Indonesia, Singapore, and North America. Facebook plans to connect with Google and other local partners in Asia, such as Keppel in Singapore and Telin in Indonesia. 


Facebook hopes to have Echo completed by 2023 and Bifrost by 2024, but the two projects are still subject to a regulatory approach. Facebook says Echo was built with XL Axiata and Google, while Bifrost was made with Keppel and Telin. The company declined to disclose how much was spent on the projects. 


Southeast Asia has an online population of around 400 million, with COVID-19 pushing a further 40 million people to join the world wide web. 


Facebook says COVID-19 has increased demand for secure internet access, particularly in areas like Southeast Asia, where the need for more internet access is growing quickly. 


The American company said the two new cables would boost cables already in the area, including a 3,000km long fiber network that spreads across Indonesia. 


Facebook also added the new initiative would complement the other initiatives the company is running in Singapore, including the Asia-Pacific Gateway and the Southeast Asia-Japan Cable

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