Asia internet cable projects delay due to South China Sea tensions

Telcos and tech firms are investing in subsea cable to meet surging demand in Asia. (Photo courtesy of NEC) via Nikkei Asia.

Asia internet cable projects by leading telecoms and technology firms are facing delays due to the tensions involving South China Sea and how China positions itself.

Because China has claimed that the sea is one of the Chinese properties, cable owners such as Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Singapore Telecommunications, and U.S. tech giants Meta and Google were affected with higher costs to lay and operate the cables and major change on construction schedules, according to Nikkei Asia.

Projects like the Southeast Asia-Japan 2 (SJC2) by Singtel, for instance, have had to deal with complicated measures and lengthy approvals from the Chinese government.

Chinese authorities have been slow to grant permits allowing the cable, called the Southeast Asia-Japan 2 (SJC2), to traverse the South China Sea, citing national security concerns.

“Over the past two to three years, we’ve been struggling with the permit acquisition, particularly for the territorial waters claimed by China,” said an executive involved in one of the projects. “How to minimize that risk has become one of the top priorities for new projects.”

Even though some projects revealed that they are working to find alternative paths and plans for laying the cables and connecting data hubs, it would be difficult to avoid the South China Sea entirely.


About Kanlayakorn Pengrattana

Kanlayakorn 'Princess' Pengrattana is a freelance writer at ScandAsia.

View all posts by Kanlayakorn Pengrattana

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