Google, Facebook, PLDT (telco in the Philippines), Chunghwa Telecom (telco in Taiwan), and NTT Ltd, today announced their participation in the Apricot subsea cable system. Specifically, these five companies have formed a consortium to construct this new international subsea cable system, named Apricot.
Notably, PLDT disclosed that it will invest $80m (3.9bn Philippine pesos) in building the Apricot subsea cable. Whereas Google, Facebook, Chunghwa, and NTT have chosen not to disclose their funding contribution.
Apricot Subsea Cable – Overview
The Apricot subsea cable will span 7.5k miles (12.0k kilometers) connecting Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Guam. The consortium partners, including Google, Facebook, PLDT, Chunghwa, and NTT intend to have the Apricot subsea cable be fully operational (i.e., ready for service) in 2024.
The consortium is building the Apricot cable system to have an initial design capacity of 190+ terabits per second. Further, the subsea cable will be equipped with 400G transmission technology and multiple pairs of high-capacity optical fibers.
The Apricot subsea cable will pass through the Eastern coast of the Philippines, into Indonesian waters, traversing onwards to Singapore. Indeed, Singapore is a major subsea cable hub, which will further diversify the Apricot cable’s routing.
In the Philippines, new cable landing stations will be built in Luzon (north) and Mindanao (south) as part of the Apricot subsea cable system landing in the country.
NTT will operate and manage Apricot’s sites at the Minamiboso landing station in Chiba Prefecture (Japan), a landing station in Indonesia, and the Tuas landing station in Singapore.
The Apricot subsea cable will increase internet capacity, speeds, redundancy, and reliability, while lowering latency, in the Asia-Pacific region. In turn, this subsea cable will help meet rising data demands in the region and support existing cable systems.
More specifically, Google, Facebook, PLDT, Chunghwa, and NTT’s subsea cable will help meet the growing demand for 4G and 5G services, broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, augmented reality & virtual reality, cloud services, and video conferencing, across the Asia-Pacific region.
Rationale by Consortium Participants
Each of the Apricot subsea cable’s participants, namely Google, Facebook, PLDT, Chunghwa, and NTT have varying rationales for participating in the build of this shared form of digital infrastructure. Below is select rationale from each of these four participants:
- Google: ensures a higher resilience for Google Cloud and its digital services (e.g., Search, Gmail, YouTube) in-and-out of Asia
- Facebook: network infrastructure of Facebook better serves the 3.5+ billion people globally who utilize the company’s services (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp)
- PLDT: enhances the network capability of PLDT (Smart Communications) to serve the Philippines’ growing data traffic, driven by digital services and 5G. Additionally, the subsea cable enhances the Philippines’ ability to attract hyperscale companies to expand with cloud regions in the country. In turn, this enhances the Philippines’ position as a strategic data center hub in the Asia-Pacific region
- Chunghwa Telecom: enables high-speed, low-latency, and massive connectivity for 5G services. At the same time, the subsea cable will propel the company’s international business plan in the Asia-Pacific region
- NTT Ltd: new and different route from existing cable systems brings business continuity to the market. Specifically, in the event of an outage due to natural disasters or other external factors to existing subsea cable systems
Subsea Cables in Asia-Pacific – Google, Facebook, PLDT
In Asia-Pacific, Google and Facebook are jointly building the Echo subsea cable system. Specifically, this system will connect the United States (California), Singapore, Indonesia, and Guam.
Additionally, Facebook, alongside Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, and Telin, are constructing the Bifrost subsea cable. This system will connect the United States (West Coast), the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Guam.
Finally, in Asia-Pacific, PLDT recently announced investments in the Jupiter Cable subsea cable, and the Asia Direct Cable system.