Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) is submarine cable system initially designed to connect Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and the US.
PLCN aimed to offer the first direct submarine cable connectivity between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, the US, spanning approxiamately 13000 km, with the shortest RTD between Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
PLCN is the first and currently the only submarine cable system in the world to deploy with C+L band optical technology. C+L band technology had been technically feasible when PLCN project was luanched in the end of 2015. The deployment of C+L band almost doubles the per fiber pair capacity and the system capacity in PLCN. Later in 2018, the Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology was available and more popularily selected as an alternative solution to increase system capacity while decreasing cost per bit.
The PLCN cable system consists of 6 fiber pairs, with 240 channels of 100Gbps in a single fiber pair (100G * 240 WL), 24 Tbps per fiber pair and 144Tbps for the whole system.
The PLCN cable system is supplied by SubCom, with its industry-leading and innovative C+L band solutions.
The PLCN cable system is jointly built and owned by Google, Meta (formerly Facebook) and PLDC (Pacific Light Data Communication). PLDC is a start-up company incorporated in Hong Kong in 2015 and was acquired by Dr.Peng Telecom & Media Group Co.,Ltd (Dr. Peng Group) in late 2017. PLDC initiated the PLCN project in 2015 and teamed up with Google and Facebook for the joint build of PLCN in 2016.
Google owns one fiber pair in PLCN, connecting Hong Kong and the US with a branch to Toucheng, Taiwan on this fiber pair. Google acts as the landing party in the US and Taiwan. In the US, Google lands the PLCN cable at Equinix LA4 data center where houses the PFE and SLTEs of the whole PLCN cable system in the US territory.
Meta (Facebook) owns one fiber pair in PLCN, connecting Hong Kong and the US with two branches to the Philippines on this fiber pair, landing at Baler, Aurora and San Fernando, La Union respectively. The Baler and San Fernando cable landing stations are owned by the Philippine state-owned firm Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
PLDC owns four out of the six fiber pairs in PLCN, acts as the landing party in Hong Kong. PLDC lands the cable at Deep Water Bay CLS in Hong Kong and installs their SLTEs at TMH, Telecom House data center in downtown, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Designed with Open Cable structure, each of Google, Meta and PLDC can operate its own PLCN fiber pair(s) independently.
In June 2020, based on national security concerns, the US Team Telecom recommended the FCC partially deny the PLCN cable landing license application, to the extent it seeks a direct connection between the United States and Hong Kong, and with respect to PLCN's Chinese owners, and partially grant the license application for PLCN’s U.S. owners and for PLCN’s connections between the United States, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
In August 2020, PLCN joint builders withdrew the application for cable landing license in the US, which was initially filed on April 21, 2017. After the withdrawal, PLCN joint builders (Google and Facebook) refiled the FCC a new application for cable landing license for PLCN's connections from the US to Taiwan and the Philippines, without connections to Hong Kong, without ownership and control by Chinese entity.
In January, 2022, the FCC finally granted Google and Meta Submarine Cable Landing Licenses, approving commercial operation for PLCN's connections from the US to Taiwan and the Philippines.
On Feburary 21, 2022, Dr.Peng Telecom&Media Group Co.,Ltd (Dr. Peng Group), a private telecom operator in China and the then parent company of PLDC, disclosed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that Dr. Peng Group has entered into an agreement with Meister United Limited (Meister) for the sales of PLDC. Under such agreement, Dr. Peng will transfer 100% shares in PLDC to Meister, subject to various closing conditions. Meister is a company established in the British Virgin Islands in August 2021 and funding by F.I.T. Ventures, a Canada-based family wealth management firm. Upon closing of the transaction, Chinese Dr. Peng Group will divest completely its shares in PLDC and indirect ownership in PLCN.