Facebook wants to stay really connected to South Asia and in that effort has just bought a large stake in a $450 million undersea cable project called the Asia Pacific Gateway, according to PCMagazine reports Friday. This project is expected for completion in 2014.
The Asia Pacific Gateway is designed to run from Malaysia to South Korea and Japan, with branches to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.
There are 12 stake-holding members funding this endeavor, according to Facebook, but it is not publicly known if they each hold equal percentages in this project.
The cable has been designed with the capacity of 54.8 terabits per second with a possibility to upgrade it to 100Gbps per channel when the technology becomes available.
Others investing in the Asia Pacific Gateway, that is being supported by the public entity Time Dotcom (TdC), are China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom; Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom; Korean network operators KT and LG Uplus; NTT Communications of Japan; StarHub of Singapore; Viettel Group and the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group.
TdC put its share of the bandwidth at 3.4Tbps, for a total investment of $45 million -- although that figure includes the cost of the Malaysian landing station, the company reported.
Demand for bandwidth from Indo-China and South East Asia is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 44%, from around 2,862 Gbps in 2011 to an expected 24,000 Gbps in five years, according to Time Dotcom.
By adopting a 40 giga-bit-per second (Gbps) optical transmission technology, the total design capacity of APG is at 54.8 Tera-bits per second. APG is design protected for 100 Gbps technology upgrades to meet dynamic traffic requirements in the future, giving TIME an opportunity to increase its capacity allocation as and when the needs arise.
Plans for the Asia Pacific Gateway have discussed since 2009, but Facebook's name has not been a publicly discussed option of investment until now.
With Facebook working hard to show continued and sustained growth in its userbase, the Asia Pacific region is a clear growth market that the company wishes to further invest in. The better the online and connectivity expereince, the more likley the people will be to spend near the 7 hours a month that Americans do on the social network giant.
Facebook shares (NASDAQ:FB) were trading at $31.53 Friday morning, a relatively flat trend since closing Thursday at $31.47.
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