Underwater fiber optic cables now carry most of the world’s Internet traffic to meet the surging demand for bandwidth in data centers. Internet giants Facebook and Google are paying a lot of money to build underwater cables.

Now they have their sights set on a new underwater cable across the Pacific that, if eventually built, will provide the companies with faster data transmission capabilities and connect them to fast-growing markets in Asia.

Unfortunately, the plan fell through…

Facebook has decided to withdraw its application to build an undersea cable between California and Hong Kong, China, after months of pressure from US national security officials, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: “Due to the US government’s continued concerns about the construction of an undersea cable between the US and Hong Kong, we have decided to withdraw our FCC application, and we look forward to working with all parties to reconfigure the system to” address “the US government’s concerns.”

Facebook and several telecom industry partners first applied for approval in 2018 to build the cable, which would connect two sites in California and provide branches in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But it is not the first trans-Pacific fibre-optic project to be stalled by American resistance.

The Bay-to-Bay Express Pacific fiber-optic network, previously funded by Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has also been put on hold as its builders seek permission not to touch data links in Chinese territory. If successful, it will serve as a hub connecting Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the United States.

Regulators in Washington typically grant permits to cable projects after a lengthy review.

But after Internet companies began planning more physical links with China, U.S. national security officials took a second look at those applications.

Then companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter said they would stop processing user data requests from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies following the implementation of the national security law. American technology companies operating in Hong Kong now face a delicate balance, analysts say. If the authorities ask them to delete user accounts or their content, the companies believe this would alienate their user bases in Hong Kong and overseas. But if they refuse, they could face criminal prosecution and punishment. The good news is that while Hong Kong has millions of users, it still accounts for a tiny fraction of the companies’ global revenue.