US, National-security concerns threaten undersea cable to Hong Kong

US, National-security concerns threaten undersea cable to Hong Kong

On the base of national security concerns,Washington is considering blocking a project for an undersea cable between Los Angeles and Hong Kong that is being backed by Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google, and a Chinese partner,

The US Department of Justice has expressed its doubts about the Chinese investor, Beijing-based Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co, and the direct link that the undersea cable could provide to Hong Kong.

Subsea cables are the backbone of the internet by carrying 99 per cent of the world’s data traffic.

This is the first time that the US objected for such a cable licence due to national security concerns. 

The implication

The US national security review could potentially change the way that internet connectivity across the Pacific works and is structured.

The goal of the joint tech venture is to provide enhanced faster connections for users in both continents. 

According to the WSJ, a temporary permit, expiring this month, has allowed the work to be carried out thus far. 

Given escalating trade tensions between the US and China combined with the increasing rivalry between the world’s two largest economies, Washington appears to be growing more suspicious of Bejing’s global ambitions.

Insight Analysis

The growth of global Internet traffic has led to an unprecedented expansion of the submarine cable network, both in terms of the number of connections and in terms of its overall capacity.

Today, a complex network of hundreds of cables, extending over 1 million kilometers, links almost every corner of the earth and is instrumental in closing the remaining communication gaps.

Given the size and critical role of the U-boat network for both business and society at large, our culture has mostly overlooked it, treating it as a black box in most Internet studies, from access to inter-domain traffic and reliability.

Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org

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