Telstra and TPN to operate Google/Meta’s Echo subsea cable

Telstra and TPN to operate Google/Meta’s Echo subsea cable
Photo: Huang Junsheng | Unsplash

Telstra International and Trans Pacific Networks (TPN) announced on Tuesday that they have partnered to co-build and operate the transpacific Echo subsea cable backed by Google and Meta.

The Echo subsea system aims to connect California, Guam, Indonesia, Palau and Singapore with a capacity of 12 fibre pairs at 12 Tbps each.

Under the partnership deal, Telstra will be TPN's operating partner for the system. Telstra will also deliver cable landing station services for Echo in Singapore, as well as network operations centre services.

Telstra has also partnered with XL Axiata, which is landing the cable in Tanjung Pakis, to deliver services in Indonesia.

The Echo cable, announced by Google and Meta in March 2021, is partially funded by the US International Development Finance Corporation. Originally slated to be ready for service by the end of last year, the Guam-US segment will launch first in mid-2024, while the rest of the system will go live sometime next year.

Roary Stasko, CEO Telstra International cited figures from TeleGeography that demand for transpacific bandwidth is “growing at one of the fastest rates in the world”, potentially increasing 39% year on year until 2029.

"The Trans-Pacific is a critical connection point to reach the US, and the geography of these regions means they will rely on new submarine cable routes like Echo for international connectivity,” Stasko said in a statement.

TPN CFO Aaron Knapik added, “The Echo subsea cable system will be a critical element of the Indo-Pacific's digital infrastructure, ultimately strengthening networks and increasing capacity while reducing internet costs in the region.”

The Echo partnership is Telstra International’s latest move to expand its reach and capacity in the Pacific region. Last week, Telstra joined Google on another subsea cable project, along with Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) and APTelecom, to roll out two new intra-Pacific cables connecting Guam, Fiji and French Polynesia.

Stasko noted that Telstra recently added 3 Tbps of capacity through the SEA-US cable connecting the US mainland to HawaiiGuam and the Philippines, "which complements our existing transpacific cables like AAG, Unity, Faster, NCP and Jupiter."

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