Tiny Oregon Town Is Battling Facebook

They don't want to be landing spot for trans-Pacific undersea cable
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 9, 2020 3:16 AM CST
Tiny Oregon Town Is Battling Facebook
Jeff Bryner gazes, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, at the lot that a Facebook subsidiary bought to convert it into a landing site for a trans-oceanic cable in Tierra Del Mar, Ore.   (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

(Newser) – A battle playing out in a tiny Oregon town with no stoplights or cellphone service is pitting residents against one of the world's biggest tech companies. Locals in coastal Tierra del Mar are trying to stop Facebook from using property in their quiet community to build a landing spot for an ultra high-speed, undersea cable connecting America with Asia, the AP reports. Representatives of the social media giant say Tierra del Mar is one of the few places on the US West Coast suitable for the cable, which will feature the latest fiber optic technologies. It will link multiple US locations, including Facebook's huge data center in the central Oregon town of Prineville, with Japan and the Philippines, and will help meet an increasing demand for Internet services worldwide, the company says.

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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 county and state allow the project, they say, more commercial ventures will come calling. A Facebook subsidiary bought the empty lot for the cable landing in 2018 from former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington. Locals worry the project will pave the way for cell towers, power junctions, and additional cable sites. Facebook representatives told county officials the horizontal directional drilling will last about a month, and all that will remain is a manhole cover.

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