Facebook has scrapped plans to connect California, Taiwan and Hong Kong via a 12,000 kilometer underwater cable, citing tensions between the U.S. and China.
The social media giant told the Wall St. Journal, which broke the story, it was halting the project due to political pressure from the U.S. government, which noted potential national security concerns.
“Due to ongoing concerns from the U.S. government about direct communication links between the United States and Hong Kong, we have decided to withdraw our [Federal Communications Commission] application,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We look forward to working with all the parties to reconfigure the system to meet the concerns of the U.S. government.”
Facebook, along with several Chinese companies including China Telecom, applied for permits to start the cable in 2018. The cable would have sped up the flow of data across the Pacific.
This is not the first time a Pacific cable that included Hong Kong has been placed on hold. In September of 2020, Google and Facebook shelved the Pacific Light Cable Network that would have linked the U.S. with Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Around the same time, Facebook and Amazon ditched a proposed cable link between San Francisco and Hong Kong called the Bay to Bay Express Cable.
Source: Voice of America