Softbank Maruyama CLS

According to The Seattle Times, local residents in an Oregon coastal town Tierra del Mar are trying to stop Facebook from using property in their quiet community to build a landing site for the Jupiter undersea cable connecting the United States, Japan and the Philippine.

Tierra del Mar, 65 miles (105 kilometers) southwest of Portland, is home to a mix of professionals and retirees who share a love of the unspoiled beach that is fringed with coastal pines and the deer, bald eagles and rare seabirds that inhabit the area. It has two businesses, a rock shop and antiques store, and no cell service, apparently because providers don’t consider it profitable enough.

Tierra del Mar is a town in Tillamook County, Oregon. The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners had voted 2-1 in favor of the project after hearing testimony. Local residents plan to appeal to a state board.

Tierra del Mar is one of the few places on the U.S. West Coast suitable for the ultra-high-speed cable.

In 2018, a subsidiary of Facebook bought an empty lot at Tierra del Mar town for the cable landing from former NFL and University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington. County records show Edge Cable Holdings, USA, paid him $495,000 for the beachfront property, about the size of 10 tennis courts.

But locals say vibrations from drilling to bring the submarine cable ashore in this village of some 200 houses might damage home foundations and septic systems. They also point out that Tierra del Mar, arrayed along a pristine beach, is zoned residential. If the project is allowed, they say, more commercial ventures will come calling.

Facebook representatives told county officials the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) will last about a month, and all that will remain is a manhole cover. They said they carefully chose the Tierra del Mar site, avoiding areas where fishermen trawl and keeping to places that allow burial of the cable so nets won’t snag on it. They also had to skirt undersea canyons and federally protected fish habitat.

There are various submarine cable landing stations in Oregon. Recently, NCP and Hawaiki Cable both landed at Pacific City which is located about 50km south to Tierra del Mar. While the Nedonna Beach landing site for TPE and TGN Pacific is located about 50km north to Tierra del Mar.

Facebook participates and invests in the Jupiter cable system, owns two out of the five fiber pairs (40%) in its trunk connecting Japan and Hermosa Beach CLS, and wholy owns the branch to Oregon. Facebook plans to build a new cable landing station to land Jupiter in Tierra del Mar, Tillamook, Oregon.

Facebook is also participating in other transpacific subsea cables, including

  • PLCN, which lands at Equinix LA4, El Segundo, Los Angeles. Facebook owns one out of the six fiber pairs in PLCN.
  • BtoBE, to land at an existing cable landing station in Grover Beach. Facebook is the landing party. and
  • at least another one cable connecting Singpaore and the United States.