SINGAPORE — Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Limited, through a wholly owned subsidiary, Keppel Midgard Holdings Pte. Ltd.; a subsidiary of Facebook Inc.; and PT. Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), a subsidiary of PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk entered into a joint build agreement to jointly own and develop the Bifrost Cable System, the world’s first subsea cable system that directly connects Singapore to the West Coast of North America via Indonesia through the Java Sea and Celebes Sea.

Expected to be completed in 2024 and spanning over 15,000 km, the Bifrost Cable System will connect Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam, and the West Coast of North America.

KMH’s share of the total project costs as a joint build partner will be approximately $350 million. Keppel T&T, Facebook, and Telin have appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the supply and installation works of the cable system.

“One key component of Keppel’s Vision 2030 is our connectivity business,” said Thomas Pang, CEO of Keppel T&T. “With the development of the Bifrost Cable System, we take a significant step toward strengthening and broadening our connectivity platform by building a new adjacent and complementary business to our data center business. We are happy to collaborate with our consortium partners, Facebook and Telin, for the Bifrost Cable System project, as this will be a transnational critical infrastructure, which will enhance Singapore’s role as a digital hub as well as support and accelerate the region’s growing digital connectivity needs. In line with Keppel’s asset-light model, we can also collaborate with funds managed by Keppel Capital to help provide funding for the project.”

“Connectivity is at the heart of our mission to give people the power to build community,” said Kevin Salvadori, vice president, Network at Facebook. “We are committed to bringing more people online to a faster internet, to support the growth of digital economies, and to do this in collaboration with local partners.”

“The development of the digital economy in Indonesia has, by far, contributed significantly to national economic growth, shown by the high use of online services in droves, with online businesses have emerged as new frontiers for the country’s digital economy,” said Sukardi Silalahi, CEO of Telin. “The collaboration in Bifrost Cable System will cater a massive demand of internet from Indonesia to the world and vice versa, as well as to realize Telin’s vision as the global digital ecosystem enabler.”

"We are proud that Facebook, Keppel, and Telin have trusted ASN to build this direct Singapore-North America cable,” said Alain Biston, president of ASN. “ASN will mobilize its enhanced production facilities to deliver a highly reliable and high-capacity system, thanks to ASN-developed SDM technology."

With global data bandwidth demands reaching unprecedented levels, surging cloud adoption, exponential growth in mobile device usage, and 5G deployment, the surging demand for more bandwidth highlights the critical impact subsea cables have on global connectivity. In addition, there has been an increasing demand for more capacity through the Pacific region due to the significance and the growth of Asian markets. In Asia-Pacific alone, according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018 – 2023), the number of internet users is expected to hit 3.1 billion by 2023, from 2.1 billion in 2018.

This open cable system will cater to the burgeoning connectivity needs of the Southeast Asia region by providing not only seamless direct connectivity to North America and low latency but also network diversity.