US may block undersea cable backed by Google, Facebook, report says

A map of the cable segments that are part of the PLCN.

Pacific Light Data Communications Co.

US officials are reportedly seeking to block an undersea data cable backed by Google and Facebook that links Los Angeles to Hong Kong. The Justice Department, which leads a multiagency review panel known as Team Telecom, is opposed to the cable because of national security concerns over its Chinese investor and the direct link to Hong Kong, according to a report Wednesday from The Wall Street Journal. 

Much of the nearly 8,000 mile long Pacific Light Cable Network has already been installed along the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean, with commercial service expected to launch near the end of this year. However, the PLCN project might not be granted the license it needs to operate due to opposition from Team Telecom, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the review. If the license application is rejected, this would be the first time the US has denied an undersea cable license because of national security, according to the Journal.

The cable is designed to bring greater bandwidth, shorter wait times and more security to users of Google’s Cloud Platform as well as to Facebook users.

Google declined to comment on the report. Facebook and the Pacific Light Data Communications Co., the builder and operator of the PLCN, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The DOJ also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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