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MANILA, Philippines – Google on Wednesday, April 8, (US time) got approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to start using the US-Taiwan link of its subsea fiber-optic Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN)
The PLCN is a 13,000-kilometer submarine cable network carrying internet traffic. It will add to the estimated 380 existing submarine cables laid on seabeds that form a global network carrying 99% of the world’s internet traffic. Direct connections between two regions enable faster data transfers.
The PLCN is a venture between Google, Facebook, and Pacific Light Data Communication (PLDC). PLDC is currently owned by China-based Dr. Peng Telecom and Media Group.
It was first announced in 2017, with construction starting in 2018, but full operation has stalled pending regulatory difficulties in the US – concerning security issues, and specifically with the involvement of a Chinese partner.
The PLCN lines run from El Segundo, California in the US to landing stations in Deep Water Bay, Hong Kong; Toucheng, Taiwan; Baler, Philippines; and San Fernando City, Philippines. Facebook owns the Philippine landing stations. The cable map for the PLCN can be found here.
But now, the project has gained some movement with the FCC approving the use of the US-Taiwan connection, with Google having reported that its systems will reach maximum capacity in the Asia-Pacific region within the next 6 months.
The FCC will be allowing the use of the link for six months, “pending a final disposition of the license application, according to Reuters.
The site also reported that Facebook is seeking a similar ruling from the FCC for the cable portions connecting the Philippines to the US, with the company saying it is “navigating through all the appropriate channels on licensing and permitting.” Google hasn’t requested for permission to use the Hong Kong landing station at this time.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in 2019 expressed concerns over the PLCN regulatory snags on its possible effects on the government’s own cable project with Facebook, the P976-million Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, a deal signed in 2017. – Rappler.com