Facebook invests in APAC undersea cable

Social networking giant invests undisclosed sum in Asian undersea cable project to boost Web speeds in region, hence giving better experience to its users here, report says.

U.S. social networking giant Facebook has pumped an undisclosed sum in an Asian undersea cable project aimed at improving Internet availability and speeds for users in the region.

BBC reported Thursday that Facebook said this initiative, dubbed Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG), will help boost membership in what was already one of its fastest growing markets.

"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 spokesman said.

The spokesperson declined to reveal the figure, according to BBC, but said that the consortium of firms involved in the project had invested US$450 million in total.

The building of APG is being funded by a group of companies that includes Chinese Internet service providers (ISPs), China Telecom and China Unicom, BBC said.

A separate report by tech blog The Register said Facebook's involvement in the APG consortium was revealed in a stock exchange announcement by Malaysian ISP, Time dotcom, the latest investor that joined the project.

Due for completion in 2014, APG will bring a 6,214-mile (10,000 km) undersea fiber optic cable linking Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, with branches to other Asian countries including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore, the report said.

Incidentally, Facebook's first undersea cable investment mirrors Internet giant Google's moves in the past. In 2008, Google joined the consortium for the Trans-Pacific Unity submarine cable system linking the U.S. and Japan, followed by the Southeast Asia Japan Cable (SJC) system consortium a year later.

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