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Facebook, others invest in massive underwater fibre optic cable

Facebook and other investors have joined a consortium led by Malaysian telecomm company Time Dotcom to build a massive underwater Internet cable spanning from Malaysia to Korea and Japan.

The fibre optic project, known as the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG), will endeavour to bring faster Internet speeds to citizens in the region as well as to reduce the volumes of Web traffic currently routed through Singapore.

“[W]e have a global network system landing directly into Malaysia. This lowers our dependencies on Singapore as the main gateway for Internet traffic. We can now channel high volumes of this traffic on our network with the lowest latency, directly to the US,” said Time Dotcom CEO Saiful Husni.

The APG, which will run on a 40Gb/s optical fibre, will create a more direct route for Internet traffic and reduce the lags caused by traffic hopping from country to country.

"Our investment in this cable will help support our growth in South Asia, making it possible for us to provide a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore," a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC of the $450 million (£280 million) project.

Construction will be finished by the end of 2014, Time Dotcom says, so Facebook users will have to wait over a year before they can expect to play FarmVille at higher speeds. A Google-backed trans-Pacific fibre optic cable dubbed Unity was completed in 2010.