The Google and Facebook backed Pacific Light Cable network is supposed to link the USA Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines, but a report in the FT today suggests that the US government is pushing for an alternative route due to security concerns over Hong Kong.
The issue has been played down by Thomas Kurian, the head of Google’s cloud computing business who says “When we look at a primary location, it’s always wise to have a secondary one in mind” but it is clear that this is a significant issue for the 13,000-kilometre high-capacity subsea cable after recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission from Team Telecom, that the cable should only connect North America with Taiwan and the Philippines. Team Telecom are an executive branch of the US government charged with reviewing foreign telecoms for security risks.
Objections to the cable originated last August after Google, Facebook, and partners including TE SubCom and Pacific Light Data Communication Company had already laid thousands of miles of cable, however work continued on the Taiwan aspect of the cable after a temporary six-month agreement.
It is unclear who might benefit if Hong Kong drops out of the picture for this project, but Singapore looks a possible beneficiary.
Senior Gartner analyst Tao Wu said “Singapore has become much more important than Hong Kong from a location and population perspective”
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