In its race for world domination, Facebook tried to get ahead of Google, Amazon and Apple by connecting Asia and North America with an undersea fiber-optic cable. The high-speed cable was to emerge from the Pacific Ocean at Tierra del Mar.
Tierra del Mar is a community of about two-hundred homes on the Oregon Coast, about twenty miles south of Tillamook. Homeowners opposed the project from the beginning, saying it would change the area’s character and lead to more non-residential projects.
The cable would connect Facebook’s large server installation in Prineville, a small town in Central Oregon with Japan and the Philippines. Locals were not pleased to see the contractor (a Facebook subsidiary) strip trees, grass and other vegetation from a large lot adjacent to homes and replace it with gravel and concrete and heavy equipment for the project’s staging area.
But now folks are really angry. The project, drilling under the beach and seabed to bring the cable to its landing site onshore, was supposed to take a few weeks. Oops, a drill pipe snapped under the seabed and Facebook closed down the operation. Eleven-hundred feet of pipe, sixty-five-hundred gallons of drilling fluid, drills and other equipment have been abandoned under the seabed.
Facebook waited seven weeks to tell anyone about it. They told the neighbors not to worry, because they did an “environmental assessment” and leaving all that stuff fifty feet below the sea floor is not a problem. Besides, they say they might begin work again sometime next year, maybe January.