Facebook has made its first investment in a subsea cable system: the Asia Pacific Gateway. According to a Malaysian stock exchange filing by Malaysia’s Time dotCom, the latest member to join the APG cable consortium, Facebook is already among the list of consortium members behind the project.
Facebook’s investment, which other industry sources have confirmed to CommsDay, would be its first direct involvement in a subsea cable project, and would follow a similar move by Google with its Unity cable investment across the Pacific.
Few details are available on Facebook’s actual investment in APG, but initial accounts of the system’s capabilities should give the company some terabits’ worth of pan-Asian capacity. For example, Time dotCom’s investment of US$45 million, which includes the cost of building a cable landing station, already gives the operator 3.4Tbps of capacity between Malaysia and Japan.
While Facebook keeps most of the information on its global network infrastructure behind closed doors, it has in recent times disclosed at latest some of its network purchases. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has tapped Teliasonera International for a terabit-level European network to support its Swedish data centre.
CommsDay understands Facebook currently has leased capacity on multiple pan-Asian subsea systems. Whether or not these contracts will be replaced by APG remains to be seen, as diversity will be needed to support APG’s linear design.
On the other hand, the investment could signal further expansion into Asia by Facebook. While the firm has previously denied news reports that it was planning a new data centre site in Taiwan, with 194 million of its 850 million subscribers in Asia as of March 2012, the prospect of Facebook investing into its own facilities in the region would not take a great stretch of the imagination.
In comparison, Google, which in addition to Unity is also an investor in the SJC pan-Asian cable, is building three data centre sites in Asia.
Other members of the APG consortium include China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT, LG Uplus, NTT Com, StarHub, Viettel and VPNT. NEC has been awarded the construction contract for the APG cable, which will link Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia and offer a design capacity of 54Tbps using 40G waves upgradeable to 100G.