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Report: US May Deny License for LA-Hong Kong Undersea Data Cable Project

Jeff Brody

An undersea cable project between Los Angeles and Hong Kong designed to expand internet connectivity might not get a license to operate as it faces opposition from U.S. officials due to national security concerns, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Sources said a panel led by the Department of Justice and tasked with reviewing telecommunications projects – Team Telecom – has expressed objection to the 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network project due to ties of Beijing-based investor Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group to the Chinese government and Hong Kong’s declining autonomy.

According to the report, the $300M PLCN project is backed by Facebook and Google and work on the program is being conducted under a temporary permit, which is set to expire in September. Hong Kong-based Pacific Light Data Communication said it has installed more than 6,800 miles of cable as part of the project, which is set to enter service by December or January.

If the project’s application is denied, it'd be the first time the U.S. has denied a license for an undersea cable project due to national security, the report said.

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