SubTel Forum Magazine #110 - Global Outlook

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appy New Decade! As New Year’s day was approaching recently I watched the many messages, blogs and articles reflect on the passing of the old decade and dawn of the 2020s. Friends and family would post pictures of themselves 10 years ago and then opine on how things had improved or not, or pounds that had been found or lost, or whatever. Even my wife said something about not believing we were starting a new decade. Up until then I really hadn’t given it too much thought. I recently saw Woody Allen’s movie, “Midnight in Paris”, the story of one aspiring writer, Gil Pender, who boards an antique limousine and is transformed every night to be with the Jazz Age’s icons of art and literature, including Ernest Hemingway (my personal favorite), Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. Gil believes that the 1920s avant-garde in Paris is the height of the age of letters and art, and he soon falls for Pablo Picasso’s lover, Adriana, who imagines: “I’m from the ‘20s, and I’m telling you the golden age is la Belle Epoque;” and together they travel back for dinner at Maxime’s because to her, that was the best of times. But to Gil the Golden Age is not the 1890s, nor as he comes to figure out, not even the 1920s and he returns to his present. I guess in some ways we are all like Gil - “Yeah, that’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying.” But then again maybe that’s also what drives us forward…


It is a sincere pleasure to be working once again with the International Telecoms Union and hearing from its Secretary General, Houlin Zhao, who has provided in this issue his interesting insight of where we are as an industry and our place in the world.


Our friends at Pacific Telecommunications Council have been offering the PTC Academy to Pacific-based students


for a number of years. SubTel Forum became IACET accredited last autumn, and working with qualified partners in providing CEU accredited education, which is sorely needed in our industry. This month we are announcing that SubTel Forum is working with PTC going forward in providing accreditation of future Academy classes, which we believe is a real game changer for the association and our industry at large going forward. Check out


Excluding the Brit versus American orthographic differences, I’m still trying to get my head around whether we spell them data centers or datacenters. Fortunately, the ‘boys in the backroom’ made the decision for me and thus the matter was rendered moot when they added a new layer to the SubTel Cable Map - some 1,700 DCs around the world at!


Anyone who has read SubTel Forum long enough remembers a section we used to publish showing where various cableships had been in the then recent past. It allowed me to every issue ask: “Where in the world are all those pesky cableships?” Well ask no more because we have added a cableship layer to the SubTel Cable Map, which allows the intrepid reader to watch in real time the sharp end of our industry at work. And given that cableship positions are updated four times a day even the heartiest of aficionados should receive hours and hours of good fun at!


To meet the growing decisionmaker need to provide timely information about our increasingly changing industry, we have tweaked our reporting model going forward, offering a subscription-based service for all of the Market Sector Reports that are also being updated on a quarterly basis. Readers can read updateable reporting on 6 different

A Publication of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. ISSN No. 1948-3031 submarine cable related topics. Any or all reports are being offered on both an individual and enterprise basis at


SubTel Forum is publishing the second article of a series leading up to the main 150th anniversary of the first India telegraph cable, which will be celebrated for the month of June 2020 at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno in Cornwall, England. Stewart Ash has written a piece entitled, “In Search of Lost Robert Dudley Watercolours,” as well as highlighted the monthlong schedule for the Porthcurno event. As always, we have some really excellent articles this issue from a number of international authors. Global Outlook is meant to be a wide-open theme and I think you’ll agree that our authors have certainly hit that mark, and of course, our ever popular “where in the world are all those pesky cableships” is included as well. Like many I am attending PTC ’20 in Honolulu. A lot has changed in our industry in the last twelve months. The sheer number of systems that are or have been built in the recent past is staggering. But the prior quick pace seems to be changing, and whether we are starting a new phase or not, I look forward like you to learning more. So as always, should you be attending PTC ’20, please come to our SubTel Forum booth to say hello and of course, save me a seat at the Mai Tai Bar! Good reading and let’s have an awesome ‘20s. STF

Wayne Nielsen, Publisher

PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER: Wayne Nielsen | VICE PRESIDENT: Kristian Nielsen | SALES: Teri Jones | | [+1] (703) 471-4902 EDITOR: Stephen Nielsen | DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Weswen Design | DEPARTMENT WRITERS: Houlin Zhao, José Chesnoy, Kieran Clark, Kristian Nielsen and Wayne Nielsen FEATURE WRITERS: Cliff Holliday, Dag Aanensen, Frank DiMaria, John Tibbles, Mattias Fridström, Peter Bannister, Sergei Makovejs and Stewart Ash NEXT ISSUE: MARCH 2020 — Finance & Legal AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INDEX:

Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. | BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Margaret Nielsen, Wayne Nielsen and Kristian Nielsen SubTel Forum Analytics, Division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. LEAD ANALYST: Kieran Clark | | [+1] (703) 468-1382 RESEARCH ANALYST: Rebecca Spence | | [+1] (703) 268-9285 SubTel Forum Continuing Education, Division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. CONTINUING EDUCATION DIRECTOR: Kristian Nielsen | | [+1] (703) 444-0845

Contributions are welcomed and should be forwarded to: Submarine Telecoms Forum magazine is published bimonthly by Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc., and is an independent commercial publication, serving as a freely accessible forum for professionals in industries connected with submarine optical fiber technologies and techniques. Submarine Telecoms Forum may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publishers. Liability: While every care is taken in preparation of this publication, the publishers cannot be held

responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any errors which may occur in advertising or editorial content, or any consequence arising from any errors or omissions, and the editor reserves the right to edit any advertising or editorial material submitted for publication. New Subscriptions, Enquiries and Changes of Address: 21495 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 201, Sterling, Virginia 20166, USA, or call [+1] (703) 444-0845, fax [+1] (703) 349-5562, or visit Copyright © 2020 Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc.









THE CARRIER GUIDE TO 2020 By Mattias Fridstrรถm



By Clifford Holliday

By Sergei Makovejs






By Peter Bannister and Jerry Kawajiri

By Dag Aanensen





By Frank C. DiMaria

By Stewart Ash





departments EXORDIUM........................................................ 2 STF ANALYTICS REPORT..................................... 6 CABLE MAP UPDATE......................................... 12 BACK REFLECTION........................................... 58

CONTIUING EDUCATION.................................... 64 SUBMARINE CABLE NEWS NOW....................... 66 ADVERTISER CORNER...................................... 67

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110






o address the growing reporting and analysis needs of the submarine fiber industry, SubTel Forum Analytics continues its Market Sector Report series – designed to provide the industry with the information it needs to make informed business decisions. The Submarine Telecoms Market Sector Reports are an annual subscription product covering a specific sector of the submarine fiber industry and updated on a quarterly basis. The Global Outlook edition provides a global overview of the state of the submarine fiber industry. SubTel Forum Analytics collected and analyzed data derived from a variety of public, commercial and



scientific sources to best analyze and project market conditions. While every care is taken in preparing this report, these are our best estimates based on information provided and discussed in this industry. The following Executive Summary provides an overview of the topics addressed in the Global Outlook Market Sector Report. Executive Summary Since the last peak in 2017 – when over 90,000 kilometers of cable was installed – the submarine fiber industry has observed a significant decrease in activity. The years 2018 and 2019 observed 64,000 and 28,000 kilometers of cable added, respectively. (Figure 1) Despite continued activity

from Over-The-Top (OTT) providers and regional infrastructure projects, output has returned to pre-2017 levels. Several projects that were expected to be complete by the end of 2019 have either been delayed or fallen through completely. Global economic and political uncertainties have contributed to numerous reorganizations, acquisitions and bankruptcies throughout the industry. As the commercial outlook for the submarine fiber industry becomes less certain, expect this kind of activity to increase as companies work to strategize for potential market downturns. Additionally, the average capacity for new systems has also fallen. Since 2015, the average capacity of


(KMS in thousands)

800 60 40 20 0






Figure 1: KMS Added by Year, 2015-2019


a submarine fiber system had risen steadily from 31 terabits per second (Tbps) to 60 Tbps in 2018 and was overall trending upwards. However, in 2019 the average capacity for a new system returned to the same level as that observed five years ago. (Figure 2) Moving forward, this average may increase once again as new systems make use of cutting edge transmission technology and add more fiber pairs to the system design. Much of the observed industry growth can be attributed to the changing dynamic in system ownership observed since 2016 – when OTT providers begun to move from capacity purchasers to cable developers. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been building new cables to meet their infrastructure needs. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, with a significant portion of new system builds for the next several years being driven by these companies – 27 percent. Significant system growth through 2022 will take place in the Americas, Transatlantic and Transpacific regions. This growth is spurred on by the infrastructure demands of OTTs, new routes in the South Atlantic, additional connections from Europe to Virginia Beach to provide direct access to Ashburn, Virginia data centers and new infrastructure across the Pacific to replace aging cable systems. These new projects will provide both traffic diversity and connect growing markets in South America and Africa directly and work to meet increasing end-user demand for cloud services. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Indian Ocean

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0






Figure 2: Average System Capacity, 2015-2019

Pan-East Asian regions maintain slow growth compared to historical trends, largely due to sustained political and economic instability in these regions and the saturation of African telecommunications markets. However, the EMEA region does show higher growth compared to a year ago indicating increased market activity – especially around the Mediterranean and East Africa. (Figure 3)

According to announced information on the amount of cable each company has supplied over the last five years, SubCom takes the lead. NEC produced the next most, with ASN rounding out the 3 busiest companies. These three companies have been very dominant in recent years, being some of the few companies that can produce cable at a high enough volume to meet demand for large systems. So, JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


ANALYTICS while some companies had a relatively high amount of activity, they were not always supplying large systems. Over the last couple of years, there has been a renewed interest in Transpacific routes and routes connecting Asia and South America directly to Europe. This will involve large systems, requiring thousands of kilometers of cable. Moving forward, the industry will have to rely on only three companies to tackle such large projects. Looking forward, several new technologies coming to market could disrupt existing business and network models. With the successful test of 400G wavelength technology on live submarine cable systems over the last year, this long-promised capacity leap forward is finally commercially viable. Alongside advancements in C+L band, High Fiber Count (HFC) and Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM) technologies there is huge potential for a large increase in both system capacity and networking efficiency. Contract in Force rates have remained steady since 2017, indicating the current level of growth is sustainable. Cash rich OTTs have ensured system funding and the availability of data center providers at cable landing stations have helped to solidify


TranspaciďŹ c 6


Transatlantic 6

Polar Indian Ocean







Americas Figure 3: Planned Systems by Region, 2020-2022

commercial business opportunities of prospective systems – one of the biggest traditional roadblocks to cable system viability. However, an overall reduction in system activity indicates that non-OTT private cables may not be as viable as they once were. We hope this report will prove to be a valuable resource to the submarine fiber industry at large. To purchase a subscription for this report, please click the link below. STF

KIERAN CLARK is the Lead Analyst for STF Analytics, a division of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. He originally joined SubTel Forum in 2013 as a Broadcast Technician to provide support for live event video streaming. He has 6+ years of live production experience and has worked alongside some of the premier organizations in video web streaming. In 2014, Kieran was promoted to Analyst and is currently responsible for the research and maintenance that supports the STF Analytics Submarine Cable Database. In 2016, he was promoted to Lead Analyst and put in charge of the newly created STF Analytics. His analysis is featured in almost the entire array of SubTel Forum publications.

SubTel Forum Analytics provides a web-based subscription model for all its standard reporting services. An annual subscription provides access to all the Market Sector Reports as well as several useful analytics tools for the submarine fiber industry. Subscribe today to get access to the Global Outlook Market Sector Report!






MARKET SECTOR Data Centers & New Technology

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FEATURE Interactive Cable Map Updates


he SubTel Cable Map is built with the industry standard Esri ArcGIS platform and linked to the SubTel Forum Submarine Cable Database. It tracks the progress of some 300+ current and planned cable systems, over 800 landing points, as well as mobile subscriptions and internet accessibility data for 254 countries. Systems are also linked to SubTel Forum’s News Now Feed, allowing viewing of current and archived news details. This interactive map is a continual work and progress and regularly updated with pertinent data captured by analysts at SubTel Forum and feedback from our users. Our goal is to make easily available not only data from the Submarine Cable Almanac, but also more and more new layers of system information. For this update, we have added two brand new data layers to the map. The first layer features well over 1700 data center factilities plotted by address and represents nearly 200 companies. The second layer added tracks the current location of every installation and maintenance cable ship in the world, updated every 6 hours. To learn even more about these fantastic new data sets, please watch the associated tutorial videos! Want to learn more about how to use the great features of the map? Take a look at our tutorial video series below: 1. Print Widget 2. General Map Usage 3. Group Filter Widget 4. Select Tool 5. Control Buttons 6. Share Widget



7. Data Centers 8. Cable Ships We hope you continue to make use of the SubTel Cable Map in order to learn more about the industry yourself and educate others on the importance of submarine cable systems. Please feel free to reach out to our Lead Analyst, Kieran Clark, should you have any comments, questions or updates at

Since the last issue of the Magazine, the map has added ten new submarine cable systems and updated fifty-two more. The full list of updated systems are as follows: SYSTEMS ADDED: BKK Digitek Celtic Norse IAX IEX MIST New Pacific


SYSTEMS UPDATED: AAG AC-1 AC-2 ALBA-1 ARBR Arctic Connect ASE Austral Basslink

Borealis CANI CanTaT-3 Coral Sea Crosslake Fibre Curie DARE1 Eagle Eastern Light EAUFON EllaLink England Cable FLAG Europe-Asia H2 Cable HAVFRUE/AEC-2

Hawaiki IFC-1 Japan-US JGA North JGA South Jupiter Katittuq Nunavut MainOne MainOne Expansion Manatua One MARS METISS NATITUA OAC Okinawa Cellular Cable

Orval PLCN Project Koete RNAL SEA-ME-WE 3 SEA-ME-WE 4 SIGMAR Southern Cross SxS Tannat Extension TPN Unity WALL-LI

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


7 QUESTIONS WITH HOULIN ZHAO Talking Technology Trends with ITU’s Secretary General


What is ITU’s mission? The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). We are committed to connecting the world. We work to bring the benefits of ICTs to everyone, everywhere. Our global membership includes 193 Member States and over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations. Our members come together on the neutral platform provided by ITU to broker the international agreements necessary to shared technological advance. ITU coordinates the global allocation of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbital positions. ITU standards are critical to the operation of today’s optical, radio and satellite networks. And we also assist developing countries in the application of advanced ICTs,



helping to bridge development divides as well as gender divides.


How does ITU participate in the submarine cable market? Standardization remains central to ITU’s value proposition. The submarine telecoms industry participates in the development of ITU international standards for the design, construction, deployment, and operation and maintenance of submarine telecoms systems. International standards provide the technical foundations of global markets. They create efficiencies enjoyed by all market players, efficiencies and economies of scale that ultimately result in lower costs to producers and lower prices to consumers. And by supporting backward compatibility, international standards enable next-generation technologies to interwork

with previous technology generations. At a time when investment in ICT infrastructure is critical, this protects our past investments while creating the confidence to continue investing in our digital future.


Is ITU currently involved with any new submarine cable projects? Our latest standardization project for submarine communications is addressing transversely compatible DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) applications for repeatered submarine telecoms systems. This project is also covering the characterization and commissioning of ‘open cable networks’, a shift towards the separation of dry and wet plant procurement. We also see considerable potential for submarine cables to support climate action. Submarine cables could form the basis of a global real-time ocean observation network. This network would be capable of providing earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as data on ocean climate change and circulation. Equipping cable repeaters with climate and hazard-monitoring sensors – creating ‘Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications (SMART) cables’ – would yield data of great value to climate science, disaster warning and the future of our oceans. Realizing this vision is the primary objective of the ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force on SMART Cable Systems, a multidisciplinary body established in 2012.

ing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The Radio Regulations are revised every three to four years at ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), a conference which plays a key role in shaping the technical and regulatory framework for the provision of radiocommunication services in all countries, in space, air, at sea and on land. The most recent WRC was held last year in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 28 October to 22 November 2019. Spectrum for 5G services was one of the main topics of the conference. It identified additional radio-frequency bands for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) to facilitate the development of 5G mobile networks. ITU is also coordinating the international standardization for 5G mobile development, a process on course for completion by the close of 2020. ITU also plays a leading role in the international standardization of transport networks, and we are engaged in a comprehensive set of standardization projects on transport network support for 5G. ITU standards are also addressing the new networking paradigms to underpin 5G, building on innovations such as software-defined networking and increasing automation with AI and machine learning. We are also well known for our strong tradition of standardization work on video coding. 2020 is expected to see video coming to account for 90 per cent of all Internet traffic. This video traffic will rely on Primetime Emmy winning video-compression standards developed collaboratively by ITU, ISO and IEC.

We are also well known for our strong tradition of standardization work on video coding. 2020 is expected to see video coming to account for 90 per cent of all Internet traffic.


ITU’s submarine cable portfolio is well known to our readers, what more about other products does ITU supply? ITU brokers the international agreement of the Radio Regulations, the only international treaty govern-

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110



What is your view on the connectivity market? The connectivity market has come to include a diverse range of market players, from a diverse range of industries. This has had significant implications for the work of ITU. ITU is now supporting digital transformation in areas ranging from energy and transportation to financial services, healthcare, agriculture, and smart cities. It is in this context that the ITU standardization platform, for many years central to building trust within the ICT sector, is now helping the ICT sector build trust with its many new partners – from automotive to fintech to healthcare, and many more. ITU is providing the technical basis for new partnerships with international standards, and we are also providing a neutral platform for industry to consider evolving business dynamics. Here we could make an example of ITU’s work to promote a level playing field for 5G patent licensing. We are stimulating discussion around how licensing practices could balance the interests of the many companies holding a stake in 5G development and deployment. Many companies adopting 5G technologies will be relatively new to patent licensing in the ICT context, and many thousands of these companies are likely to be small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These companies are calling for transparency and predictability in 5G patent licensing.

consensus-derived support of the diverse, globally representative ITU membership.


What’s next for ITU? AI is gaining a progressively larger share of ITU’s work programme, impacting ITU’s technical work in fields such as security, coding algorithms, data processing and management, and network orchestration. We expect that this trend will continue. New ITU standards address machine learning’s contribution to the increasing automation of network orchestration, and this concept of network ‘self-optimization’ is very much part of the discussion when it comes to emerging 5G and Internet of Things networks. ITU also organizes the annual AI for Good Global Summit together with the XPRIZE Foundation and in partnership with ACM and 37 sister United Nations agencies. The summit identifies practical applications of AI with the potential to accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. ITU is working in close collaboration with our longstanding partner WHO to support AI’s contribution to health, in particular by working towards the international standardization of a framework and associated processes for the performance benchmarking of ‘AI for Health’ solutions. We are also working towards the establishment of international standards to monitor and assess the performance of the AI ‘drivers’ in control of automated vehicles. Both of these initiatives were first called for by the AI for Good Global Summit, subsequently leading to formal contributions proposing new ITU work. STF

ITU is unique in the ICT standards world as the only body to include governments. We are also unique in the United Nations system as the only body to include the private sector. We are in a unique position to bring the benefits of ICT innovation to all regions of the world.


What makes ITU unique in the submarine system market? ITU is unique in the ICT standards world as the only body to include governments. We are also unique in the United Nations system as the only body to include the private sector. We are in a unique position to bring the benefits of ICT innovation to all regions of the world. Participation in ITU standardization helps the submarine telecoms industry to deploy new solutions efficiently, on a global scale. Inclusion is at the heart of ITU’s work. The ITU standardization process aims to ensure that all voices are heard, that standardization projects do not favour particular commercial interests, and that resulting standards have the



HOULIN ZHAO was first elected 19th Secretary-General of the ITU at the Busan Plenipotentiary Conference in October 2014. He took up his post on 1 January 2015. ITU Member States re-elected Houlin Zhao as ITU Secretary-General on 1 November 2018. He began his second four-year term on 1 January 2019. Prior to his election, he served two terms of office as ITU Deputy Secretary-General (2007-2014), as well as two terms as elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (1999-2006). Houlin Zhao is committed to further streamlining ITU’s efficiency, to strengthening its membership base through greater involvement of the academic community and of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and to broadening multistakeholder participation in ITU’s work.



THREE systems ONE integrated eco-system

Sydney - Auckland - Los Angeles Fiji - Tokelau - Kiribati

affordability The Southern Cross NEXT project is adding a direct Sydney-Auckland-Los Angeles route to the existing dependability Southern Cross fully redundant eco-system allowing customers tolatency take advantage of cost effective, lowest latency, highest capacity, and resilient submarine cable capacity solutions between Australia, New Zealand, resilience the Pacific Islands and the US West Coast. flexibiity Want to know more about ‘What’s NEXT’? MAY 2019 | ISSUE 106







ubsea Cable technology has developed since its inception in the 1850s through several changes to its current form today. It first morphed from copper to coax and then to fiber, where it has been for several years. Now a new kind of the traditional fiber approach is beginning that replaces the current architecture – a re-imagineered future! The result is a future architecture, based on ‘Super Cables’ that offer much higher capacity and almost endless flexibility. The subject of submarine cables is fascinating, in that it is probably the oldest communications technology that still represents a significant portion of today’s Internet. Submarine cable technology saw its first application before the Civil War; it was the primary target of attack in WW I, when the Royal Navy cut Germany’s telegraph and voice sea cables. Now it is the essential network system for international traffic, yet it doesn’t seem to get much attention. Although it started first (by decades), subsea cable



architecture developed mostly independently from terrestrial-based networks and, to some extent, somewhat slower. Maybe because, historically, the terrestrial market was much more extensive and growing faster, more was spent on development in that area. Twenty-five years ago, land networks began to go to DWDM and a little more recently to ROADMs and mesh configurations. Subsea systems were much slower to adopt these new and very expansive technologies. Now there is a quiet revolution going on that is little seen and almost entirely unknown. Even though this world is hidden and unseen, it is vitally important to all of us. It is the world of undersea cables that have come to make daily life, as we now know it, possible. These cables connect the continents of the world and carry 95% of all international communications. In the last ten years, the total amount of this traffic has been dramatically increasing. It is now the second largest of all traffic classes in the USA and the fast-

est growing. In addition to this increase in volume, the fundamental nature of the traffic carried on these cables has changed. These changes in amount and kind are leading to the requirements for Super Cables and Re-Imagineered Subsea Systems. Fairly recently, that developmental separation has begun to change with the adoption of many terrestrial advances by the subsea establishment. Although the virtually same fiber is continuing to be the primary ingredient in subsea cable networks, its manner of use has begun a transformation that is significantly increasing its capacity. Perhaps as importantly, the prime customers are becoming the mega data centers, it is becoming much more flexible in application. Changes primarily owned and operated by the social media/cloud are coming at a time when they are necessary to meet (and computing providers - Facebook, Google, Amazon, and are being driven by) the rapidly expanding and diversifying Microsoft. These companies are not only customers, but market of subsea cables. These changes, taken together, will they are so involved that they all are equity owners and result in the development and deployment of a ‘Super Caactive participants in entire subsea cables. No longer is it ble’ that will significantly surpass the capabilities of existing desirable to bring a subsea cable to a landing station and cables. The forecast is that such ‘Super Cables’ will begin from there interconnect with the major telecommunications implementation within the providers. Now the need is International Traffic next 4-5 years, although to take a significant portion in KiloTerabytes International Traffic in KiloTerabytes they are already starting in (or the entire cable) direct7,000 early-stage versions. ly to a private data center. To begin with, the Historically the customer Total Over Seas Traffic - To /from North America demand for subsea cable for and principal owner of 6,000 Tranapacific Traffic service has never been subsea cables have been the Transatlantic Traffic expanding at such a pace. leading interexchange carri5,000 Latin American Traffic In the late 1980s, subsea ers. AT&T has been heavily cables carried only 2% of involved with undersea ca4,000 international traffic. The rest ble construction, operation, was on radio and satellites. and ownership since the 3,000 Now over 95% of all global early days of telephony. traffic is on subsea cables Now that is changing dras2,000 and worldwide is the fastest tically. The primary users growing traffic segment. are the content providers 1,000 Virtually all estimates put – Amazon, Google, Microthe current and foreseeable soft, and Facebook. These 0 future subsea cable growth content providers (or social rate at 40%. A 40% growth media sites) only accounted rate implies a need to for 10% of total subsea usdouble subsea capacity every age in 2012 but now (2019) two years! That is astonishing growth for a technology that are responsible for over 54% (of a much bigger pie.) is close to 170 years old! The traffic increase is due, at least partially, to the In addition to the growth, the nature of the subsea cable changes mentioned above. Previously, the vast majoricustomer is changing. Traditionally the prime (and for most ty of international traffic was from the global backbone of history, the only) customer had been the major telecomInternet providers – the international carriers. Until 2010 munications companies (and, of course, the military.) Now they were responsible for about 80% of all international 20 22

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No longer is it desirable to bring a subsea cable to a landing station and from there interconnect with the major telecommunications providers. Now the need is to take a significant portion (or the entire cable) directly to a private data center.

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


FEATURE Super Cable Development Forecast Super Cable Development Forecast

Super Cable w/ 500GHz Ch



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traffic. Now they are only responsible for about 30-35%. Most all of the rest of the 5000 load is to and from the significant internet content providers – Facebook, Goo4500 gle, Amazon, and Microsoft. They have dispersed their data centers all over the 4000 world so that now if you look up something in Kentucky, the answer may come 3500 almost instantly from Hong Kong, taking 3000 advantage of the most readily available computer complex with the required in2500 formation. Without the subsea cables, this would never be possible. 2000 The content providers (mostly the four named companies) have become the pri1500 mary users of subsea cables. Last year, such traffic accounted for 77 percent of the traf1000 fic coursing beneath the Atlantic and 60 percent of that under the Pacific; thus, the 500 entire thrust of the market has changed. With such a preponderance of utilization, TAT-14 0 0.64 it is only natural that the content providers want to take more control of this asset that is so key to their underlying business. Google requires a 100% increase in its available subsea bandwidth every year to meet its requirements, meaning, virtually, a new, large cable. While this Google growth is remarkable, the subsea market as a whole is growing (and projected to continue to do so) at a rate of 40% a year. At that rate, the entire market will double in a little less than two years. A significant aspect of getting more control of their subsea assets is, of course, actually owning the cables. All of these companies are committed to the ownership, construction, and operation of many facilities. Some are joint ventures of more than one of the content providers. But taking control of this critical asset of their businesses is most important. To better directly control their assets and their businesses, the large content providers want more direct control of the signals and, thus, the cables. The landing station configuration has begun to change to help achieve these control objectives. As expected, this process has already started. It will become the rule as the content providers demand to control a portion of directly, or all of, the cable. The subsea world is borrowing heavily from the terrestrial optical world to meet the increasing traffic and the need to give the content providers better control. These two communications worlds have developed separately.

Year In-service

Terrestrial developments have led the subsea, in spite of the subsea starting decades sooner. Now they are beginning to merge. This merger will result in the Super Cable that offers extreme flexibility of control. These developments will work together to meet this structural and growth requirement by ushering in the age of Super Cable. Many alterations have already started; some are just beginning; some are only just now anticipated. Taken together, they amount to a complete “Re-Imagineering of the Subsea Cable Systems.” Traffic forecasts and the known and deduced business interests of the major players as the drivers for cable growth and make appropriate forecasts on those bases, including details of the design and drivers of the coming Super Cables. STF CLIFFORD HOLLIDAY founded the consultancy, A & C Consulting Services. Here he has designed major fiber networks serving customers on three continents. He is also a lead analyst for Information Gatekeepers, Inc, and has published over 50 major reports since 1999. He is a BSEE, MBA, PE, Invited Member of Mensa, and Kentucky Colonel.


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ccording to the Chinese calendar, 2020 will be the Year of the Rat. And while this may seem as if this year is doomed to be full of dark, damp, rat-like times, the rat actually ranks first on the Chinese zodiac signs. Based on its characteristics, we can expect a year full of vitality, alertness, wit, spirit and flexibility. Characteristics that when applied to the telecom industry, will undoubtedly be one for the books. And so, as a continuation of the ‘Top 3’ predictions for the year ahead that we shared in January 2018 and 2019, here are some thoughts for 2020.






Infrastructure is a very valuable asset and owning ducts, cables, fibers and colocation space is a key ingredient to be successful. As the pressure from the market on price continues, a carrier’s cost/Mb will continue to be one of the key factors for success. But, since investing in infrastructure is costly, we will see more Venture Capitalists stepping in when current service providers cannot afford the investment.


Customer Experience is finally paying off. There have been so many years where the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), or just the street price, have been the

dominating factor within the carrier business as companies looked to choose their provider. During 2020, more and more companies will select their service provider based on the experiences and predictably they are able to offer. From the connected home and streaming services, to broadband-on-demand and customer-facing interfaces --2020 is all about the experience.


The reinvigoration of the edge debate. Once 5G services permeate the market, we will see a number of new players entering the edge game. The current mobile network operators will be challenged by a number of companies who want to offer their services at the very edge of the network. Additionally, the reality of where the edge truly lies will continue to be a debate in 2020.



IPoDWDM finally makes sense. The concept has been around for years but with different form factors, limited performance and without vendor operability, it has never been deemed worth it. Now, finally standards and interoperable interfaces around 400 GE makes this technology start to look promising making 2020 the year when we see this concept transform from an idea to a reality.


5G services will be live and integrated into everyday environments. This is not a test anymore and we will see some real-world examples of installed 5G solutions. We will also see the first clash between IoT and 5G where both technologies want to solve the same problem or challenge within some vertical industries at the same time. Frequencies and network slicing will become a topic of discussion during the year as we look to fully understand the impact of 5G.


Internet security will be a very valuable add on. Solutions like Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) that allows networks to prevent route leaks or BGP hijacking will be implemented more widely in larger IP networks. The ability to control your traffic flows and guarantee there will be no leaks, will be a key selling point when contracts are up for renewal.



There are still loads of people that believe the cloud is ubiquitous with no real sense of understanding the need to know how to connect to it. Cloud First sounds like a great strategy. First of all, the cloud resides within data centers and these data centers are nothing if they are

not connected. Unless you run your entire company online within a data center, you will need to connect to the data center via some form of connectivity. If you then want to spread your data between several clouds for redundancy, you need to have even more connectivity to a number of data centers. The perfect combination between connectivity and cloud will give companies an immeasurable advantage going forward.


The days when all security applications had to be physically installed on every premise are over. Today you can take advantage of online security solutions with very little installation time required. However, that does not mean these solutions do not need a network. Unless they are connected to one of the major Tier 1 networks, they are fairly weak within a global network solution. With a weak connection, traffic will traverse the internet back and forth many times to reach some kind of secure solution. That will not cut it in 2020.


Even with the knowledge around SD-WAN solutions spreading, there are still many that believe that just a decent connection to a local ISP will solve the whole WAN solution for a company. Software will just fix it, they believe. While it is mostly true that software will fix it, it is still important to have that software installed at a number of locations to give the optimal performance for a global WAN. A lot of software-driven boxes installed in various leased networks will never meet the requirements for optimal performance.



SDN (Software Defined Network). Over the last couple of years this has really been the buzzword to be associated with. In 2020, we will move beyond this and actually have networks controlled by software. The next key step is to make SDN happen in an environment where the provider has inventory systems with just above 70% accuracy due to many mergers and acquisitions over the years.


NFV (Network Function Virtualization). The concept of making functions in the network virtualized instead of the traditional. The mindset of “everything needs to be in a box,” is considered a standard process today. The trend for 2020 will be more focused on who you enable to store their functionality in a server that is under your own control. Hosting the complete ecosystem within your “own” servers in the cloud should be the best practice in 2020.

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SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy). Throughout the years, carriers have tried to decommission their SDH network in favor of more scalable and flexible IP solutions. Still, most of the SDH networks are up and running. Spares and replacements are best bought on eBay and the technicians that know the technology best have already retired. 2020 is the year where many SDH networks will completely be taken out of service in favor of a packet-based network that can actually deliver all packets in one flow and in the correct order.



The current development trend around optical networks is as fast as it has ever been. New releases of gear happen several times per year to meet an ever-growing demand. In this fast-paced world, no one wants to be stuck with a supplier that suddenly falls behind on the development curve. By disaggregating transponders from the Line System, this problem is partly solved. If you, at any time, can buy the most optimal transponder, it will guarantee that your network is state-of-the-art. The fact that it comes with an increased responsibility for operational issues is something all carriers just have to plan for and adapt to.


The practice of disaggregating software from hardware is not a new thing, however, the trend will be really strong in 2020. Universal CPEs, bare metal servers and other types of solutions will be the norm. Carriers will need to hire more IT staff to increase the control of their networks and focus on developing services that they know their customers want. This will enable better collaboration throughout the new ecosystem among software companies and carriers.


Decoupling line cards from the backplane allow for a better and more flexible solution when picking up traffic within a city, for example. When both space and power are expensive building blocks in a carrier network, this trend will be a significant cornerstone of every smart solution.



Being a cable repair guy can sometimes be working in a pleasant environment where the sun is shining, and the repair is on an open field close to the water. On the other hand, it can be a tremendously tough job trying to repair a cable in a northern country during the darkest hours of January when the temperature is 20 degrees below zero and some plough car just put a pile of snow on top of the broken cable.




Working with customer deliveries is a tough job. Having to work with deliveries that have just been signed by a sloppy sales representative who just uncorked the champagne bottle is something else. Dealing with unrealistic delivery times to non-connected buildings with futuristic products is no small feat and many heroes in this part of the organization never get recognized.


As 5G makes its entrance to the communication world, there will be a large need for new antennas in various shapes and forms. Some are predicting between 10-20 times more antennas within a few years will be needed in comparison to what’s currently needed for 4G. This, in turn, will require quite a number of people who are not afraid of heights as these antennas will be installed everywhere from rooftops to really high antenna towers. Imagine having to go up 50 meters fighting huge gusts of wind. It’s not an average job. As you can see, 2020 will be a year of true realization and integral developments for the telecom industry. While much of this foundation has been laid in 2018 and 2019, 2020 will be the year of realization for much of these technologies we’ve buzzed about through the year. As always, we recognize that predictions are just that, but if the Chinese Year of the Rat is any inclination of what we have to look forward to, the industry is in for a good year. STF MATTIAS FRIDSTRÖM is recognized globally as a leading authority on the internet and the technology that enables it. Mr. Fridström takes the concept of backbone connectivity and brings it to life, offering deeper insights into the networked economy as a whole. Driven by Telia Carrier’s unrelenting customer focus and with two decades of expert insight, Mr. Fridström relishes the opportunity to share the company’s compelling story to become the number-one global internet backbone provider in the world. As an evangelist, Mr. Fridström strives to educate and challenge the status quo when it comes to network technology and the essential role carriers and their partners play in our connected world. Located in Stockholm Sweden, Mr. Fridström joined Telia AB in Dec 1996 as Senior Project Manager for the development and installation of many International submarine cables around the world. In 1998 Mr. Fridström assumed the role within Telia International Carrier as head of the construction and implementation of the International Network within Europe and USA for the Carrier business. Between 2003 and 2010 he first headed up the Product Management side of TeliaSonera International Carrier for Voice, IP, Capacity and Infrastructure related services and then he had the strategic responsibility for the complete and combined National and International Wholesale Product Portfolio within the TeliaSonera Group. Between January 2011 and June 2016, he was the CTO of TeliaSonera International Carrier and since July 2016 he is now the Chief Evangelist for Telia Carrier Mr. Fridström holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

CALL FOR PAPERS The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) is a non-commercial, non-profit international community of interest comprising 170 Member organisations from 65 countries who are active in the critical activities of regulating, operating, building, securing and maintaining submarine cable infrastructure. ICPC Members take care of over 97% of the world’s submarine telecommunications cable infrastructure, and an increasing number of international submarine power cables. The ICPC Plenary will be held at the hotel Novotel Madrid Center from 28th – 30th April 2020 inclusive. Attendance at the ICPC Plenary provides significant benefits for members, presenters and exhibitors. The theme for the 2020 ICPC Plenary is:

ICPC 2020 Vision: Reliability, Security, Resilience and Sustainability of vital international submarine cables The ICPC now seeks presentation abstracts that address this broad theme. Recommended topics include, but are not limited to the following: • Reliability: How science, engineering, survey and planning developments enhance the reliability of submarine cable systems • Security: Sharing the burden of keeping critical international infrastructure secure by working with authorities, stakeholders and other seabed users • Resilience: Protecting international telecommunications and power cable systems through collaboration, innovative design and optimum routing • Sustainability: Better science, technology, law, manufacturing, installation and repair so submarine cables remain neutral to benign in the marine environment The ICPC Plenary attracts global attendance and provides valuable opportunities to exchange ideas on the planning, installation, operation, protection and maintenance of cables, to learn from colleagues facing similar challenges, and to get up-to-date with environmental and legal aspects of submarine cables. The Plenary Agenda includes presentations, round tables, interviews, exhibits and networking opportunities. More information on the ICPC can be found at: Abstracts, Important Dates and Presentations a) Abstracts can be submitted online by clicking here. b) Presentations should be a maximum of 25 minutes long, including approximately 5 minutes for questions and answers, formatted in accordance with the ICPC guidelines that will be provided. c) The ICPC will evaluate all submissions based on content, relevance and quality. d) Overt marketing presentations will not be accepted. One slide stating the presenter’s affiliation and its activities can be included at the beginning or end of the presentation. e) The cut-off date for abstract submission is Friday 31st January 2020. f) Decision notification to presenters by Friday 28th February 2020.

We look forward to meeting you in Madrid.

ISO 9001:2015 certified designer and imp for commercial, governmen




plementer of submarine fiber cable systems ntal and oil & gas companies


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launch power into the fiber to achieve highest signal-to-noise Repeatered submarine optical fiber systems are unique ratio (SNR) for any given transmission reach and data rate in the sense that they have inherent limitations on how requirements. Figure 1 shows an example of what such an opmuch electrical power can be remotely delivered from the timization process may look like for a transpacific 10,000 km shore to submarine cable repeaters. This is different to link with 60 km repeater spacing for the two fiber types. Both terrestrial fiber systems, in which there are no fundamental fibers have the same typical 1550 nm attenuation of 0.150 limitations on how much power can be brought locally to dB/km, but different effective areas (Aeff ) – 115 µm2 and power transmission equipment, although the cost of power 150 µm2 (also typical at 1550 nm). Due to its larger Aeff, 150 delivery can vary. Electrical power constraint is also the µm2 fiber allows for a 1 dB increase in optimum launch power reason why submarine systems historically operated with relative to 115 µm2 fiber resulting in 1 dB SNR increase. a relatively low number of fibers, typically 12 fibers or less, The quest for higher capacity per fiber is exactly why ultraconsistent with the limit on the number of amplifiers that low-loss 150 µm2 fiber has been the primary choice for many can be powered from the constrained source at the shore. repeatered submarine links deployed over the last few years, Due to such a limited number of fibers in the cable, the or those that are currently in the final years of construction. fiber has always been considered as Perhaps one of the most prominent a precious resource, and maximizaexamples where 150 µm2 fiber was tion of capacity per fiber has hisused was MAREA – a transattorically been a priority. As a result, lantic submarine route co-owned submarine links have always relied by Facebook and Microsoft. At on the latest innovations in systems the time MAREA was designed and fibers such as, the lowest atit represented one of the most tenuation silica-core fibers with the technologically advanced submalargest possible effective area, and rine projects. However, the conacceptable microbend and macrostantly evolving macroenvironment bend performance. To maximize requires to continue to increase capacity per fiber (referred to as the transoceanic bandwidth at an “traditional” approach throughout unprecedented rate. As a result, the this article), the goal of submarine current belief within the industry Fig. 1 Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as a function of fiber launch power per wavelength channel for a 10,000 km link with 60 km span length network engineer is to optimize is that traditional ways to design



Fig. 2. Shannon limit formula, which states that submarine cable capacity (C) can be increased via C+L band technology (B), using more fibers in the cable (N), or via an increase in SNR

Fig. 3. A schematic diagram of a typical repeatered submarine link

Fig. 4 Allowable voltage budget VPFE as a function of current I, cable impedance Rc, number of repeaters nR, number of EDFAs / FPs nEDFA, and electrical power dissipated per EDFA PEDFA

submarine systems are no longer adequate to keep up with an increased demand for transoceanic transmission capacity in a cost-effective way. This view led to the adoption of a new way to design submarine systems - the concept of SDM was born.


The main philosophy of SDM (Space Division Multiplexing) is to increase number of fibers in a submarine cable to maximize capacity per cable and to decrease cost per bit. This frequently comes at the expense of a slight reduction in capacity per fiber to ensure that the existing electrical power limitations can be met. Naturally, a significant focus is now spent on being able to insert more fibers in a central tube, while balancing fiber microbend losses with the size of the central tube (hence, size and weight of the cable). It is also worth noting that the term “SDM” in the context of commercially-designed submarine systems is used in a very narrow sense, and ignores more exotic fiber options such as, multi-core and few-mode fibers. The use of such fibers in long-haul space is largely limited to hero transmission experiments, and it is not clear whether they will ever be adopted in commercial submarine systems. The reason that increasing the number of fibers in the cable has become the preferred path forward has to do with the fundamental Shannon limit, which states that subma-

rine cable capacity can be increased via signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), bandwidth (B) or number of fibers (N), as shown in Fig. 2. Traditional submarine systems focused on increasing SNR to allow for the use of modulation schemes with higher spectral efficiency, such as 16-QAM and beyond. However, according to the Shannon limit an increase in SNR cannot deliver linear cable capacity gain due to the presence of the log() term, which restricts cable capacity growth via SNR. By contrast, both an increase in B (by using C+L band technology) and N (more fibers in the cable) can deliver linear capacity gain, although an increase in N provides a more scalable way of growing capacity. To provide a more quantifiable insight into SDM, one needs to consider the key variables that impact electrical power distribution in submarine systems – those are shown in the schematic diagram on Fig. 3. The total allowable voltage drop budget generated by power feed equipment (VPFE) is typically limited to 15 kV, and the typical value of cable impedance Rc is 1 Ohm/km – lower impedance values are possible but will inevitably increase the cable conductor weight and cost. Finally, the electrical power dissipated at the repeaters depends on the number of EDFAs (which equates to the number of fiber pairs) used per repeater. The relationship between these four variables is illustrated JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


FEATURE in Fig. 4, which shows that some of the voltage drops continuously along the cable, while some voltage drop occurs at discrete repeater locations every 50-90 km. As noted earlier, the philosophy of SDM is to increase submarine cable capacity via more fibers in the cable, which also requires more EDFAs. All other things being equal, one needs to reduce the EDFA electrical power dissipation to satisfy the requirement for more EDFAs. Since the EDFA electrical power dissipation is closely linked with optical power launched per WDM channel, for the SDM concept to work one needs to reduce the channel launch power below the value that was historically used in traditional submarine designs.


applications. Fig. 6 also reflects the fact that the repeater spacing is typically longer for transatlantic compared to transpacific routes.


The adoption of high fiber count SDM systems will require appropriate measures for identification of larger number of fibers in the central tube of a submarine cable. The most obvious pathway is to use more colors, however, such an approach can only be scaled up to a point due to potential discernibility issues when humans deal with multiple thin coated fiber strands. Another approach is to use ring marking as a pathway to scale the number of identifiable fibers further. Ring marking represents a set of narrow circles that are imprinted on fiber with a certain periodicity along the fiber length, to differentiate it from another fiber of the same color that does not have a ring. A correctly ring marked fiber should not adversely impact fiber optical characteristics, such as microbend loss. Overall, we believe that more colors or/and ring marking is the best path forward for identifying large number of fibers in a submarine cable, and that fiber identification techniques relying on the use of external devices should be avoided to prevent additional costs. It was mentioned earlier that submarine SDM systems are likely to gravitate away from 150 µm2 fiber towards 115 µm2 or even 80 µm2 fiber. Indeed, the discussion on 80 µm2 vs. 115 µm2 fibers for SDM systems is an interesting one. On the one hand, if SDM systems transition towards a 100% linear design then for a given launch power into the fiber, there will indeed be no performance difference between the fibers with different Aeff (80 µm2 fiber will be enough). However, the feasibility of such a 100% linear design is contingent on two conditions. First, the re-

The reduction in optical launch power into the fiber is an important feature of SDM, as it implies that SDM systems are designed to operate in a linear or almost linear transmission regime. This can be observed in Fig. 5, in which blue and yellow dots represent the operating points for 115 µm2 and 150 µm2 fibers, respectively. For very linear regimes (e.g. -5 dBm channel launch power) the SNR for both fibers is virtually the same, which leads to similar transmission performance of 115 µm2 and 150 µm2 fibers for a given launch power into the fiber. For mildly nonlinear regimes (e.g. at -1.5 dBm channel launch power), 150 µm2 fiber provides an SNR advantage over 115 µm2 fiber, although this advantage is diminished compared to a traditional nonlinear system design. This leads to an important conclusion that SDM systems are likely to gravitate away from 150 µm2 fibers towards 115 µm2 or even 80 µm2 fibers for repeatered submarine applications. A typical approach taken by submarine network architects is to select such a channel launch power that leads to the lowest cost per bit. Fig. 6 shows latest Corning’s view on the optimum channel launch power for cost-optimized SDM systems, and the corresponding number of fiber pairs that can be accommodated in the submarine cable for this channel launch power. The fiber used in this analysis had 0.150 dB/ km typical attenuation and 115 µm2 Aeff, as a good balance between the baseline Aeff of 80 µm2 and ultra-large Aeff of 150 µm2. The results shown here include the impact of Tx/ Rx implementation penalty (also known as, gap-to-Shannon), which mimics today’s commercial transponders. The optimum number of fibers was found to be ~70 (35 FPs) for transatlantic and ~40 (20 FPs) for transpacific Fig. 5. Comparison of traditional nonlinear and SDM designs



Fig. 6 Normalized cost per unit of capacity (cost per bit) and corresponding number of fiber pairs for 115 µm2 fiber with 0.150 dB/km attenuation. (a) for 6,600 km route, (b) for 10,000 km route

Fig. 7 A pictorial representation of 80 and 115 µm2 fiber profiles, showing that larger Aeff has lower difference between core and cladding refractive indices

Fig. 8. Fiber attenuation dependence on fiber Aeff

quirement for lower fiber launch power may necessitate the redesign of submarine EDFA. Second, lower launch powers require the equipment to support low SNRs, leading to stronger forward error correction. Meeting both conditions is technically feasible but may increase system cost and therefore nudge the industry to adopt mildly nonlinear transmission designs (at least initially), in which 115 µm2 will outperform 80 µm2 fiber. The second, and more fundamental, reason for why 115 µm2 fiber is beneficial to 80 µm2 fiber even for a 100% linear SDM systems, is due to its ~0.01 dB/km attenuation advantage. This stems from that fact that 115 µm2 fiber has lower difference between core and cladding refractive indices, which reduces the amount of dopants in light carrying region of the fiber (Fig. 7). Ultimately, this reduces Rayleigh scattering, which is the largest component of loss in modern fibers. Interestingly, increasing the Aeff further to 130 or 150

µm2 provides limited (<0.005dB/km) attenuation improvement. By contrast, an increase in Aeff beyond 115 µm2 will increase fiber microbend sensitivity, which becomes undesirable for high fiber count SDM systems. Therefore, we believe that 115 µm2 fiber is the best fit for SDM systems, representing the best balance between ultra-low loss and microbend performance. STF SERGEI MAKOVEJS is Market and Technology Development Manager at Corning, where he has global strategic responsibility for marketing, market development and product development direction of long-haul and submarine fibre segments. Sergei received a Ph.D. in electronic and electrical engineering from UCL, U.K. and an Executive MBA from Warwick Business School, U.K. Prior to Corning, Sergei worked at Siemens, where he was responsible for the design of rail automation signalling systems. Sergei has authored and co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers in the field of optical communications. He is a regular presenter at international conferences and seminars on emerging technology trends that shape long-haul terrestrial and submarine networks and is a respected figure within the optical communications community.

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oete is a Japanese word that literally means “to go beyond”. Perth on the west coast of Australia is the country’s gateway to Asia Pacific and the geographical location of Project Koete. The project concept and design not only address the qualified domestic needs of Australia but further provides a safe back up hub for global multinational corporations (MNCs) with mission critical data centric operations in Asia Pacific and Europe and USA. Project Koete comprises the construction, operation and ongoing maintenance of a broad-based technology ecosystem that will span key customer segments, a wide range of solutions and applications and multiple global geographies. The ecosystem will include three greenfield technology hubs, in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territories of Australia (NT), each housing a Tier 4 Data Centre for an initial combined capacity of up to 60MW. The ecosystem will be paired with a dedicated greenfield subsea cable system that is designed and fit for purpose based on researched and validated global key customer segments operating in the Asia Pacific region. Project Koete will provide an open, secure, carrier neutral, high capacity, high speed, low latency subsea cable system linking Perth in WA internationally via South East Asia and domestically to Darwin in NT. The ecosystem will include non passive cable landing system (CLS) designed to include industry development requirements for multiple backhaul routes, provision by several different carriers, IP access, peering for cloud providers and high capacity internet. The technology hubs will also house the key enabling infrastructure to support the validated requirements of



key multinational customer business verticals and will also facilitate eHealth and eLearning and, by onshoring the subsea cable via branching units, support NBN and Mobile operators to provide contestable bandwidth north of Perth and deployment of new high speed data network and transmission capacity coupled with 4G/5G networks for floating and fixed oil & gas assets and fixed mining assets. Project Koete will also facilitate growth for WA’s existing Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG), Oil & Gas and Mining industries and support plans for economic growth in jobs, tourism, science and industry. WA’s offshore Oil & Gas assets are seeking global connectivity to facilitate remote M2M operations from USA, Europe and Asia. In addition, Project Koete aims to provide a SMART/ OBOS enabled subsea cable that can support qualified needs for early detection and warning of Seismic/Earthquake/Tsunami activity and can monitor the ocean environment to provide real time scientific data regarding weather and sea animal migrations assisting with long term studies and development. Project Koete’s business model does not own the means of production, but rather creates and facilitates the means to connect, communicate, collaborate and participate. Fibre Expressway Pty Ltd (FEPL) can leverage its outsourcing business model and past project experience and is able to work through existing strategic alliances with global industry experts to ensure the successful completion of Project Koete.


Project Koete possesses attractive industry fundamentals, which are driven by significant and increasing global

demand for data in Asia Pacific and Australia. The project strategically targets the increasing demand hub of global MNCs and Oil & Gas industries in WA and NT with links to Southeast Asia. Recent reports issued by industry analysts forecast strong growth in the Asia Pacific region in terms of data centre and hosting services revenues, and estimated to reach around US$32 billion by 2023, behind only to America. China is forecast to be the largest Asia Pacific market accounting for 36% followed by Japan and Australia. Western and Northern Australia are is a safe back up hub for global MNCs with data centres in Asia Pacific and Europe/USA.


Project Koete sees opportunity with international and domestic connectivity clients, capturing global and Asia Pac backup data hosting opportunities. As such, FEPL is in discussions with potential customers and anchor clients for cable, data centre and trading floor capacity, specifically targeting: 1. OTT content providers and Global Financial Services 2. Offshore WA and NT Oil & Gas and Mining asset owners 3. Australian government


Design and construction of the subsea cable contract has been executed including a 25 year maintenance coverage. Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond Pty Ltd and WFN Strategies, LLC are accomplishing the technical feasibility study for Project Koete, including design for the subsea cable, data centres and CLS. MOU’s to develop Network Operating Centre capability and Offtake have been executed with major technology MNCs in Japan and India. The construction of the data centres and cable will be executed concurrently with an estimated Ready For Service (RFS) date of 2022. Project Koete is supported by signed MOUs regarding cable Network Operations Centre capability. Feasibility and design work are being undertaken with a leading data centre D&C provider. FEPL is in discussion with a number

of customers and potential anchor clients for both the cable and data centre capacity, targeting (i) Global Financial Services and OTT Content providers as well as (ii) offshore WA and Northern Territory Oil & Gas and Mining assets owners and Australian governments. Project Koete is attracting attention from global investors and lenders via a mandated agreement with a global fund-raising group to present an opportunity for investors to provide up to US$630 million of equity and up to US$420 million of senior secured debt to finance the first phase of the construction of the project.


Peter Bannister is the Founder and CEO of FEPL currently based in Perth, Western Australia and Ayumu ( Jerry) Kawajiri is the Projects & Operations Manager based in Tokyo, Japan. FEPL is currently in discussion with international candidates with regard to Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Innovation Officer roles for successful execution of financing process and the current global stakeholder group as well as positions for Senior VP Sales/Customer Acquisition and Strategy. STF PETER BANNISTER has over 35 years’ experience in design, build, operation of global telecoms networks. He is also experienced in start-up, development and ongoing operations of global telecoms entities, well versed in managing the challenges of large geographically dispersed projects involving multi-national/cultural internal teams and external vendors with contracts budgets worth more than $2 billion. He possesses previous experience with BP UK and Asia Pacific whose projects portfolio included subsea cable installations in the UK North Sea and Gulf of Mexico and a strong Asian project experience across Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan and Sri Lanka, and strong connections in the European and North American telecommunications industries. Ayumu ( Jerry) Kawajiri Projects & Operations Manager possesses more than 30 years’ experience in the global telecommunications industry and has managed global outsourcing projects transitioning MNC’s privately owned networks to global Telco Managed Services. He was a key senior member of a global outsourcing company’s onboarding of the world’s largest pharmaceutical global network and worked for major Japanese, English and North American telcos. Prior to FEPL, he ran Investor Relations for Softbank Cyber Security Company in Tokyo and possesses strong relationships with Japanese, US and European telco companies.

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t’s June 14, 2005 and I’m sitting in my Newport Beach/ occur globally every day. Some on land and many in the Balboa Island, California apartment watching “The Ofocean and undetected. A random ocean earthquake and fice” for the first time… (How’s that for a blast from the subsequent tsunami is a “sleeping giant” capable of again past)! An emergency alert warning comes across the TV producing a global catastrophe. For the record, what resultscreen.... “TSUNAMI WARNING!! Evacuate Balboa ed in 2005 at Balboa Island was a 6-inch wave that brought Island and the surrounding area immediately!” This was to light how much we were in the dark. Little did I know, everyone worst fear... our minds were fresh with the images that in the future, I would be part of a new company of the catastrophic event of Dec 2004 where Indonesia and that would repurpose Out-Of-Service (OOS) submarine other countries that border the Indian Ocean was struck cables to enable the scientific community to build a more unknowingly by a huge tidal wave killing 230,000 people. robust reporting earthquake and tsunami early detection Evacuation panic ensued in southern California, with 3-hour system. The company is called Submarine Cable Salvage, traffic jams and people running for the Newport hills and INC or SCS (owned & operated by Ocean Networks) and even others climbing on their roof and waiting in fear. Not a real good example of how to Place Year Mag H (m) Deaths orderly avoid chaos but then that’s the point of Chile 1960 9.5 25 6,000 this article …How have we changed since 2005 Alaska 1964 9.2 30 132 – specifically in the area of ocean science and Mindanao 1976 7.9 9 7,800 how we will look to our oceans in the future for better warning signs and create early warning Tumaco 1979 8.1 6 350 systems? This is not a scientific article but a Hokkaido 1993 7.8 30 250 commoner’s view of the infrastructure that’s Papua New Guinea 1998 7.1 15 2,200 in place and developing and how the scientific Sumatra 2004 9.2 33 230,000 community is working hard to help prevent the Solomon Island 2007 8.1 12 52 next global disaster…and the look ahead. Here is a brief recap of the world events that Samoa 2009 8.1 14 192 show the destructive power that tsunamis have Tohoku 2011 9 10 19,000 had on the people of the world. Palu 2018 7.5 7 2,778 There are hundreds of earthquakes that




was launched with an outlook of building a business to support the scientific, research & education and government agencies around the world. Those in pursuit of better understanding of our oceans and the impact they have on coastal communities using monitoring systems powered by submarine cables are our customers. Fast forward 15 years to 2019 and what’s changed. There are a host of new ways that the world scientists are attacking the problem. It’s a topic that’s been under the radar for many of the “non- scientific” community but the world governments, research scientists and education institutions have been hard at work. Enhanced tsunami monitoring is evolving into a collaborative partnership between public and private entities. Even the United Nations considers it a very important undertaking and supported such meetings as the “Maritime Sector Strategies to Augment Tsunami Monitoring” held in Singapore in August 2019. https://esbn. What’s clear is that we know very little about our oceans and the seafloor given the difficulty in reaching these remote areas. Oceans make up 71% of the planet and 97% of earths water. It’s reported that only 20% of our oceans have active monitoring and even those are limited given the cost and difficulty to reach https:// exploration.html….Although the future looks much brighter given the work of scientists and companies like SCS! Today NOAA has placed (DART®) buoy stations Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami in regions with a history of generating destructive tsunamis. NOAA completed the original 6 buoy array in 2001 and expanded it to a full network of 39 stations in March 2008, and today is around 64.These buoys are equipped with sensors to detect wave anomalies amongst other critical data. They are expensive to operate and are only part of the picture. This graphic shows a typical configuration of a single DART buoy as published by NOAA along with a map of the entire global complement of ~64 DART buoys around the world. There are also “Ocean Observatories” springing up

throughout the world that are starting to explore our oceans and develop improved science that supports exploration of our oceans using a host of new technology. By recent count there are 6 Ocean Observatories in operation today with more coming on-line. While ocean cables for scientific use go back to the 1950’s, the first purpose built large scale cabled observatory (NEPTUNE) came online in 2009 (planning started 1997). Observatories are land based operations that capture data using submarine cables that are positioned on the ocean floor and outfitted with a number of sensors in an array network. The objective is to understand the sea floor and monitor the ocean climate with sustained real time observations, unlike the more traditional intermittent and power limited methods. At the core of this new science is an old technology that has been around since the early days of global telecommunication. Submarine fiber optic cables, both repeatered and repeater-less, is the backbone that brings to life these ocean observatories. By connecting an array of sensors, or even unmanned dock-able remotely-operated and autonomous-undersea vehicles (ROVs and AUVs), scientists, research & education institutions and governments can monitor ocean metrics in real time using these repurposed submarine fiber optic cables that were

formally used for telecommunications. Since they are capable of carrying very large amounts of data in milliseconds to the land-based monitoring centers they are ideal to service this industry- far cheaper than a satellite system that most people assume is in play given our cellular prejudice for wireless communication.

FEATURE Given that there are approximately 400 submarine cables around the world today, operating at a fraction of what a satellite network would cost to duplicate, it’s easy to see why upgrading these cables with sensors would make sense. Modern cables use fiber optics and lasers to transmit data at rates of 160 terabits per second (Tbps) and are as deep as 8000 meters below sea level. There is even a push to outfit new submarine fiber optic cables with Courtesy of sophisticated sensors and “Ride Along” Dr. Bruce Howe technology making the entire length of the cable a “Smart cable” (Science Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunications). These SMART cables where a global society works together to tackle a project of have obvious advantages in providing long-term sustained monumental proportions. What is of critical importance observations and early warning detection, in the deep and is that communication between these applications must be otherwise inaccessible global ocean. seamless, robust and lightning fast. Communication beWhat should not be left out of the mix of the methods tween countries, agencies, private enterprises, scientists and to gather oceanic, atmosphere and biogeochemical observa- educators is critical to building a global monitoring system. tions, is the use of highly accurate GPS, Global Navigation The use of OOS submarine fiber optic cables is now Satellite systems GNSS and Global Ocean Vessels that much more feasible and attractive from a business viewcan report on and measure wave heights and other anompoint for a number of reasons: Low incremental cost to alies, e.g., tsunamis, that might deploy and operate monitoring foretell a coastal community “nodes”; recognition of the of a pending problem. Much value of significant power and of the current ocean observing real-time high bandwidth data; system consists of a number technically proven; neutral to of platforms including satelbenign nature of the cable on lites, surface ships, drifters, and the seafloor; and developments autonomous surface vehicles, in system ownership. The last is drifting profiling floats and especially important. Compafixed moorings in the water colnies motivated by cable salvage umn, and a handful of “bottom and recycling (copper, steel, landers” in the deep sea. The plastic, etc.) have developed the advantages are the wide geogfinancial and legal mechanisms raphy that they can cover albeit to facilitate the transfer of OOS limited in scope. So, there are system ownership from the telea multitude of applications in com operators (often complex (Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute for this graphic, development depending on the and read more about the use of submarine consortia) to themselves (single, cables for ocean monitoring at circumstance. nimble entities and one such What seems to be developing company is SCS). in 2020 is the evolution of a NETWORK of technologies To understand what a Cabled Submarine Array System and processes to attack the need for a global enhanced looks like you can get a sense of the sophistication that ocean observing and early warning system. It’s not which needs to come together as this graphic shows an array application is better, or which is easier to deploy, but it’s that is tethered to a Submarine Fiber Optic Cable in Red, an opportunity for all of these approaches to be deployed traversing to a landside Ocean Observatory (the MARS in an integrated network given the unique requirements of (Monterey Accelerated Research System, Monterey Bay each circumstance. We see this as the global trend and one Aquarium Research Institute).



The ~400 operational international Submarine fiber optic cables today have a total length of about 1.3 million KM, or 30 times around the globe. Roughly 5-7% of these cables are being replaced or added to each year leaving roughly 100 Out-Of-Service fiber-optic cables laying on our seabed. A typical older cable has approximately 25 years of life before it is retired given that newer technology is more efficient to maintain and cheaper to operate. But these Out-Of-Service Cables are perfect for the demands of a Cabled Ocean Observatory (COO) due to the cost and low bandwidth requirement. And further good news… leading academic and government scientists have continued to confirm that there is a neutral to benign impact on the marine environment by these cables as reported by the ICPC. So, these repurposed submarine cables, when recovered and reinstalled properly continue to offer great value without creating environmental challenges. Actually, in many cases submarine cables appear to be beneficial by providing a desirable hard substrate for marine organisms to grow upon. Research continues with marine scientist furthering their studies on the health of our marine ecosystems and you can read more about this in the ICPC Environment Update: August 2019 While we are definitely better prepared than 2005, the

world’s oceans are still greatly unmonitored and under sampled. Knowing that a tsunami wave can travel 500 mph and that an event in a distant place can create a catastrophe thousands of miles away, we still are in the early phases of this exploration. So, despite being better we are still not where we need to be. And recent reports show that 24 of the 64 DART Buoys are not operational as of 12/2019 because of difficult maintenance and funding issues. Tsunamis have a great number of variables that effect its landfall. So, an “all clear” in one coastal community doesn’t mean another one 200 miles up-coast is out of the woods…thus the need for a robust and lightning fast reporting system. So, we see 2020 as a year when Out-Of- Service Cables are not scrapped for recycling but repurposed for the advancement of new Cabled Ocean Observatories. The graphic below shows an integrated look at all the factors in play, aka: earthquakes around the world, Dart buoys, submarine cables, the potential for Smart repeaters, and the new submarine cables planned around the world. What’s missing is where the new cabled observatories will be installed with the repurposed OOS cables. That’s the mission of Submarine Cable Salvage, Inc. (SCS)…to bring new repurposed submarine cables into operation for cabled observatories in 2020 and the years beyond.

Global map of ~1.4 million km of operational submarine telecommunications cables (green present, white in progress/planned; SMART repeaters shown every 300 km; historical earthquakes (red), and DART tsunami buoys (yellow triangles), as of October 2018. Cable data: TeleGeography’s Telecom Resources licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike. From Howe BM, Arbic BK, Aucan J, Barnes CR, Bayliff N, Becker N, Butler R, Doyle L, Elipot S, Johnson GC, Landerer F, Lentz S, Luther DS, Müller M, Mariano J, Panayotou K, Rowe C, Ota H, Song YT, Thomas M, Thomas PN, Thompson P, Tilmann F, Weber T and Weinstein S (2019) SMART Cables for Observing the Global Ocean: Science and Implementation. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:424. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00424

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Courtesy of OEA Technologies Incorporated, Halifax for this graphic

Some might want to stop the discussion there, but I would be gravely remiss if I didn’t also talk about the environmental gains, we could realize by using these technologies to better understand our seabeds, the ocean environment and our global climate. Today, there is an ocean mining explosion being undertaken that is fueled by the desire for more minerals to produce batteries and other technology. Strip mining of the ocean seabed is poised to become a huge business and yet little is known about the possibly profound ramifications this activity may have on the ocean’s ecosystem, and the services it renders for humanity. With much of sea life still undiscovered, Deep Water Cabled Array Observatories can actively contribute to helping this industry avoid environmental mismanagement. Using Out-Of-Service Submarine cables acquired by companies like Submarine Cable Salvage, Inc can bring insight into what is happening at ocean depths not reached by any other means. Rather than debate about climate change and negotiate the merits of the various systems and methods of monitoring our oceans, we should congratulate those that have advanced this early warning monitoring initiative



thus far and lend our support and efforts in helping them advance it further. Understanding the technology around ocean observatories and its impressive diversity is the work spearheaded by Dr. Bruce Howe, a scientist we have come to know. He has dedicated his career to marine and ocean studies first working on (ATOC) Acoustic Thermometry of the Ocean Climate at North Pacific Acoustics Laboratory. He has worked on many initiatives but most recently on the University of Hawaii ALOHA Cable Observatory, the deepest (4700 m) cabled plug and play ocean observatory array on the planet that was installed in 2007 and became fully operational in June 2011. It collects a stream of constant, real-time data that measures ocean bottom pressure, oxygen levels, currents, temperature, salinity, video, ocean sound and more. This information sheds light on issues ranging from climate change to earthquakes and possible tsunamis. It uses the HAW-4 first generation fiber optic cable, laid in 1988 with still near-new performance, and is a perfect example of OOS cable re-use. The National Science Foundation funding for this project has been very modest (~$0.5M/y, 2002-2022) covering development, installation and O&M.

Most recently, Dr. Howe has been working as the Chair of the SMART Cables Joint Task Force, while a Professor of Ocean and Resources Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa. The SMART Cables Joint Task Force ( JTF) is a partnership of three UN agencies—the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO/IOC), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)—plus science, research and education, telecom industry, and government stakeholders worldwide. This new “RIDE ALONG” technology has great potential to create a broad global ocean and earth observing network. Some in the industry have suggested that legal, ownership and permitting issues could impede adoption and some countries and agencies are still slow to adopt this science for security concerns. The JTF approach is to start with smaller pilot systems between friendly countries that need the capabilities, e.g., for tsunami warning and sea level monitoring, thereby setting positive precedents addressing the perceived issues (see the white paper links, Bressie et al., 2012). Dr. Howe, believes we are on the verge of global breakthroughs in our understanding of the ocean environment; and in using submarine cables as an important tool for monitoring the ocean health and climate with enhanced Earthquake and Tsunami early warning and disaster risk reduction. While we all rest at night watching our latest YouTube, or binge watch our latest streaming Netflix show (boy how we have changed since 2005)…. you should rest a little easier knowing that researchers like Dr. Howe and the many scientists alongside him, including Submarine Cable Salvage, Inc. are working to understand our oceans and use technology to protect our coastal community. Whether it be through the use of repurposed submarine telecommunication cables, DART Buoys or SMART cables the Ocean Observatory is what we see as the next greatest exploration adventure taking place in the years ahead. This graphic shows how the various technologies can work together to build a 360-degree view of the ocean climate/marine ecosystems.

It’s Submarine Cable Salvage, Inc. (SCS) great pleasure to be part of this global scientific undertaking; helping to re-purpose (but still very functional) fiber optic cables spanning our ocean seabed as they come Out-of-Service. As of the writing of this article SCS had acquired numerous OOS submarine cables globally with a total length of approximately 7,000 KMs. STF Special thanks to Dr. Howe for his assistance in completing this article and guidance. FRANK C. DIMARIA is the Executive Vice President of Ocean Networks, Inc. and Submarine Cable Salvage, Inc. He has 30 years of senior level management experience in telecommunications, logistics, business development, technology and organizational development. Before joining Ocean Networks in 2014 frank worked as a key driver and pivotal influencer of many startup ventures. This including the early days of FedEx, P&O Nedlloyd, American President Lines Direct Logistics, Keystone Internet Services, DHL/ Sky Courier, AirNet Systems and Brink’s Global Services. All early adopters of technology and globally expanded under his guidance. It is Frank’s leadership expertise and financial governance that lead the Emerald Atlantis/ Networks team to secure his services as a financial investor advisor in 2012-14. He orchestrated the reengineer of this business plan and strategy so as to assist in securing funding and expansion of its North-Atlantic submariner fiber optic cable solution. He is a leader with operations, technology and client successes in many diverse settings. From venture development, to global supply chain design, to process improvement and now global telecommunications he has been able to translate his experience into results. His work at Submarine Cable Salvage focuses on building a team and personally driving the acquisition and development/ repurposing of Out of Service Cables to meet the demands of his customers in the research, education, government and global ocean observatory arena. He has a BS. Degree in Business Administration and Logistics from Northeastern University and resides in Northern NJ and in Southern Florida. He has serviced on the Nyack Hospital Foundation Board, numerous corporate committees and is a Board Member of JOML Logistics. He travels extensively throughout the USA and internationally.

The JTF approach is to start with smaller pilot systems between friendly countries that need the capabilities, e.g., for tsunami warning and sea level monitoring, thereby setting positive precedents addressing the perceived issues. REFERENCES

Bressie, K. (2012). Using submarine cables for climate monitoring and disaster warning: Opportunities and legal challenges. Available at: https://www.itu. int/dms_pub/itu-t/opb/ tut/T-TUT-ICT-2012-22-PDF-E.pdf (accessed July 15, 2019). doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2014.52 Bressie., K., Legal Opportunities and Risks with Dual-Purpose Submarine Cables, presentation at “Maritime Sector Strategies to Augment Tsunami Monitoring”, Singapore, August 2019 (UN ESCAP) web page: Kent%20Bressie%20-%20Session%205%20%20Dual-Use%20Cables%20%28Final%20 22Aug2019%29.pdf

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THE POLITICIZATION OF SUBSEA CABLES How Our Once Discrete World Now Makes Headlines





or many years, probably since the early days of telegraphs submarine cables have rested quietly out of the view of the media and politicians if not the military minds but that now longer seems to be the case. As I started writing this an appeared on one of my news feeds, a feature from the magazine ‘National Interests’, it’s title ’Forget Nuclear Weapons, Cutting Undersea Cables could Decisively End a War’; so, how did we get to headlines like that? In the years following World War 1 London lay at the hub of a global network of subsea telegraph cables. Their capacity was laughably small by today’s standards, but they were the nerves of Empire keeping it in touch with the mother country. At times, perhaps more importantly, they allowed the Royal Navy to connect the Admiralty with its global bases. However, in the late 1920s Sr. Marconi’s radio systems allowed wireless telegraphy with much less capital intensive than cables. The new technology rapidly made deep inroads into the cable companies’ profits and threatened their survival. Radio links cannot be kept secure from interception and the British Government decided that it must, intercede and merge the wireless and cable companies into one. This allowed cheaper commercial services via radio but provided for the continuation of the expensive but secure cable links. The merger was completed in 1934 and the new company was named Cable and Wireless. Thirty-five years later I started work for them and thought it a good place to start this article.


(A quiet time for cables the 1950s to 1990.) Does this map look familiar? If you look quickly this could be a map of today’s global subsea cable network, the paths and nodes similar to mod-

ern systems but with a capacity beyond the imagination of the engineers and developers in Britain and other countries with a strong maritime history. In fact the map showed the picture in 1901 but technically things changed little until after WW2 ended and In the early 1950s the first coaxial transoceanic coaxial cables were laid, they were a new innovation for they could carry voice calls, only about 80 at one time and the only political interest was through the state monopolies that controlled them Coaxial cable networks developed quite rapidly into the 1970s. There was some evident political involvement, the UK and leading British Commonwealth countries developed a global network of coaxial cables stretching across the Atlan-

tic and Pacific via Canada and Australia and on to SE Asia, This was quite an achievement but one which was quickly overtaken by changing trade patterns away from ‘Empire’ France, Japan, UK and USA, all had cable manufacturing interests, but it wasn’t an important element of government policy but ever-growing international voice minutes that provided the impetus. However, in a rerun of the early 1930s the world saw Radio Strike Back with the deployment of geostationary satellite technology and the foundation of INTELSAT. Cables faded into relative JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


FEATURE insignificance against the flexibility capacity and massive investment in space age communication and as far as this story goes cables were of no apparent interest anymore.


(In the public interest not that the public were interested) In 1988 TAT8 became the eighth transatlantic cable and the first transoceanic fibre optic system. Its capacity was tiny but for its time-and we still talked in terms of phone calls back then it was the beginning of the end for the satellite world. Other systems soon followed across the Pacific to Japan and on into South East Asia. The new fibre optic systems saw two important developments: 1. the opportunity for seemingly unlimited capacity growth through new optical technologies like DWM and faster bit rates, and 2. in keeping with an increasing trend of deregulation in telecommunications the opportunity for private investment to challenge the traditional cable consortia of state-owned carriers. These were challenging times for the industry which learned and unlearned some hard lessons about investment and rapid technological change. On the plus side it was now clear that fibre optic subsea systems were the present and the future and satellite communications and INTELSAT began to fade from the world stage. There was limited national political interest at that time although environmental interests came into play more than ever before. While these were the hot topics in the subsea cable industry in the research labs across the world and especially in California a new communications system was emerging. This would come to depend on subsea systems and was the internet or world wide web and would change almost everything about global communications.


(Boom to Bust and Beyond) As the new century got into its stride the dot com boom which had been the basis for much of the private investment in subsea cables became the dotcom bust. We know what that did to the industry in general but one specific result was that capacity costs collapsed, either because of excess competition. ‘fire sales’ to boost revenues ‘or assets bought out of bankruptcy. This meant that the generally US based big data companies or OTTs could buy cable capacity cheaply and thus have a cost-effective way of globalising their US centric service. They bought into this idea at varying rates but the likes of Google and Facebook in the vanguard. The buy-



ers’ market was not going to continue forever and as these companies bought more and more capacity, they became aware that their suppliers the likes of, ATT, BT, FLAG, Global Crossing, etc., were running short of capacity but were not going to build any new systems. If the newcomers wanted yet more cheap capacity, they had to either do it on their own or find a few partners from the telecom world still interested in subsea to build so called condominium cables. Indeed, aside from parts of Asia that is the standard model for most new systems. Since then they have grown to a dominance not seen since the halcyon days of the ‘old’ AT&T and in some ways came to exert significant control over many countries access to the subsea world. The impact on the operators almost drove them out of global telecoms but for the suppliers it was equally traumatic. Building transoceanic cable systems isn’t the easiest industry. The oceans are a challenging and beyond the control of man, coupled with high precision optics they add up to a niche industry with high risks and not the greatest of returns. The suppliers suffered very seriously in the dot com bust shedding experienced staff and downsizing production facilities and lost many of their traditional customers as the boards of major carriers shied away from such investments. Now it was the big data companies who it seemed were the only likely customer and drove very hard bargains indeed in terms of capacity, growth potential and actual pricing. For the suppliers it was essentially a choice between go along or go under and as we know they went along hoping for better times. It was a bumpy ride, TE SubCom was eventually sold to venture capitalists, a not entirely apolitical deal. ASN was sold to Nokia and has since endured a period of being on and off the market but not without fairly transparent efforts to return its ownership to France. NEC retreated largely to its Asia Pac heartland. Only one, Huawei, a once little-known Chinese company whose name no one pronounced correctly appeared to be doing well. That’s good place for politics to start again after an interval of decades where outside of the industry and its regulators no one in the political arena cared or even knew about subsea cables. Until….


(Out of the Darkness of the Sea Floor) In late 2008 an obscure organisation known Wikileaks released a series of highly confidential documents reports it had garnered from FOI requests, whistle blowers or other means. It included a general review of cables as critical infrastructure, but one aspect came under very close and unwelcome scrutiny hyperscale intelligence gathering!

(thanks to TeleGeography and PCCW for producing todays network in Victorian style)

The major revelation was the American NSA and CIA using secret techniques for monitoring and storing data transmitted along many of the worlds submarine cable systems. The USA and its allies in the Five Eyes program (Australia, Canada, GB, New Zealand and USA) and other friendly states had it seemed for several years been monitoring and probably storing vast amounts of data transmitted over the subsea cable network. Small scale Activities of this type have happened for decades but what shocked many people was the scale and breadth, phone calls, texts, emails, internet searches, etc. and the avoidance of domestic scrutiny by using their friends to circumvent data protection laws. Because submarine cables formed a big part of the disclosures that meant people become aware of these invisible seemingly old-fashioned networks that basically underpin the Global world as much if not more than trade, aviation and oil, most of whom cannot operate globally without subsea communications. However, whilst at different times in history this might have been a bigger’ cause celebre’ the legitimate concerns over worldwide terror attacks convinced many people that such activities were a necessary part of na-

tional and international security. Either way the toothpaste was out of the tube and mass media now began to report incidents and activities related to subsea cables as never before. Intelligence agencies and their political ‘masters’ realised that if we can spy on potential rivals or enemies what’s to stop them spying on us with the same sort of covert intrusion into the manufacturing and operational activities of communications networks. if Wikileaks showed what the west does how about the potential ‘other side’. Russia does not have a huge electronics industry and virtual no ocean, so subsea cables do not concern them directly, though they seem rather expert at cyber warfare. China on the other hand has a thriving and innovative communications technology sector and are involved in numerous subsea cable projects as supplier and regular development partner. From a gradual start in 2012 the US began to harbour, and then disseminate its suspicions that Huawei transmission equipment could in some way be remotely controlled allowing data to be accessed or services interrupted. This ultimately led to a ban on Huawei transmission equipment being used in the USA and the US JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


FEATURE Government endeavoured, with little success to persuade its European allies to take the same position. Huawei made subsea cables too and it was then decreed that no such systems would be allowed to land in the USA followed by further government restrictions not just on Huawei systems but any that had Chinese financial backing. This was one battlefield in what became a serious and long-lasting trade war across almost all segments of US China commerce. The most recent relevant to this story is the unprecedent US refusal to allow the new US-Hong Kong PLDC cable to commence operations even though the system is complete.


(A mutual dependence?) It is now well understood that the internet depends for its global connectivity on subsea cable networks and so submarine cable security and internet security are inextricably linked. Ironically the internet was designed as a path independent network, but in the subsea world there are only a limited number of paths. Of course, the internet in its various guises is a significant issue in commerce, social affairs and politics but it has also spawned the concepts of fake news, denial of service so-called cyberattacks and intrusions of privacy. There is no doubt that almost all corporations large or small depend entirely on the internet for selling supporting and delivering their product. Whole new business models from Cloud computing to Amazon and their amazing logistics. Critical infrastructure indeed. Most countries have some form of local internet, but dominant Internet dependent corporations are from the USA Google/YouTube Facebook/Twitter Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. Where Government, Politics and Communications are strongly intertwined the view is often formed that the companies must in some way have wider relationships with the US Government than might appear to be the case. There is also the cultural issue where Governments dislike the idea of all news and social media having a western bias inconsistent with their countries political, religious, social policies and traditions. In that case why not have your own internet as China, and just recently Russia have demonstrated, and many countries have home grown search functions and the like. For the

larger countries in this situation why not increase their global influence by disseminating their own internet functions focused on social development, politics and issues relevant to the developing world. Could the substitution of social engineering and culture overcome the dominance of advertising? To support such ambitions, they need connectivity that does not transit potentially hostile nations or is dependent entirely on large US corporations’ investment in mega capacity systems which threaten to dominate global connectivity options So, if there are multiple internets not just one with differing objectives and ownerships how big a step is it to start blocking or barring external internet content or establishing links which route far away from the prying eyes of potentially hostile intelligence services. Following these political goals means interfering with the one internet concept and what impacts the internet impacts subsea cables.

It is now well understood that the internet depends for its global connectivity on subsea cable networks and so submarine cable security and internet security are inextricably linked.




(Intercepting or Avoiding) While the idea of cyber-attacks tends to conjure up images of rooms full of technicians carefully seeding viruses, monitoring events or trying to flood servers with millions of fake messages or enquiries it is a lot easier to take some bolt cutters to a manhole and toss in a thermite grenade or let a digger/backhoe loose than go in for all the complex cyber spying stuff or cable cutting submarines.. While idea of a cloud being part of the internet is somehow attractive it is a cloud with some very complex hardware behind the fluffiness, cables routers data centres are all very real. Cable landing points (beachfront landing stations are becoming a thing of the past), are by their nature often located in relatively remote areas and are vulnerable unless there is very deep burial for both the cable and power cables and this has to be a concern in terms of stopping dedicated ‘cyber terrorists’. The chief defence of course is diversity so there is no dependence on one single cable and that is a sound defence against ‘a person acting alone’ but that hard for a planned group or military action. In some ways much easier than concerted attempts to bring down airliners given airport security compared to CLS security. Governments are now beginning to ask serious questions about landing sites and security and no doubt specific provisions to protect vulnerable remote locations will become more common.

Blocking inbound content is not uncommon especially among so called repressive regimes but then most regimes that feel threatened tend to become repressive whoever they are. That can be done with software or by just denying access to cable landings to limit the amount of control they need. No fibre to North Korea for instance. In many countries a condition of landing approvals is to make appropriate provisions for ‘national security requirements’, i.e., we can turn off the internet at a moment’s notice. Something I experienced in Sri Lanka in 2018 when the threat of civil disturbance spreading across the country resulted in a complete shut down on the island and isolation from the outside. Twitter and Facebook being the medium of choice for the protestors. Another form of Government intervention and therefore politics is to develop cables that avoid countries which are seen as extremely intrusive into the affairs of third parties and therefore avoiding countries like the Five Eyes group. Some are wholly political some in response to perceived political needs. Some examples here include Ellalink, the proposed China-Chile system, SAEX connecting the Indian and Atlantic oceans and a possible Japan-Europe cable via the Arctic. On the other side of the issue of avoiding countries some cables are planned specifically to serve one location. The proposed Indian Ocean system from the Arabian Peninsula to Western Australia seemingly connects two deserts but has a politically very important mid-way landing.


Political intervention into subsea cable development and operations is not new but for decades before 2010 was at a relatively low and discrete level or just as part of general bad relationships between countries. Since 2010 however things have changed radically not just in terms of the Wikileaks expose but active involvement of cable projects in trade wars and related foreign policy issues. These did not just happen but received very extensive news coverage all around the world. This was along with a growing awareness that subsea cables are critical infrastructure and indeed about as critical as anything can be. Although a recent CNN article on their potential vulnerability commented ‘Underwater cables are the invisible force driving the modern internet, with many in recent years being funded by internet giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. They carry almost all our communications and yet -- in a world of wireless networking and smartphones -- we are barely aware that they exist. New Internets will inevitably develop, inevitably with a different focus to the US dominated Web of today and with the link between the Internet and subsea cables changes

in one sphere will drive changes in another. Times may change and so might the medium but as never before politicians want to both control and exploit the fastest means of getting the message to the masses yet invented And so, our once rather secret and discrete world is almost as likely to make headlines as natural disasters or plane crashes. The internet and the cables that link us all to the cloud are now common knowledge and because of that they have become issues of national security, foreign policy and trade restrictions. The remainder of this century will see more diversification away from the technological and financial dominance of the ‘West’. Increasing prosperity in the most populous countries will begin to generate more and more data as the ‘Wests’ leadership in technology and economic power wanes against the sheer size and scale of merging economies. With the internet of such critical importance in all global business, trade and social policy the routing and interconnection of the cables that make it work will reflect those changes. At the moment it’s pretty hard to see a world without Google and Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon as dominant players in the internet and therefore subsea cable world. Nothing lasts forever as graphically predicted in a famous poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley published in 1818. I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. STF JOHN TIBBLES has spent a working lifetime in global telecoms much of it in the subsea cable arena where he held senior positions responsible for subsea investments and operations at Cable and Wireless and MCI WorldCom and as an internal advisor consultant to Reach and Telstra Reach. John spent many years working for C&W in Bermuda and established the first private subsea cable offshore company and has worked extensively with both consortia and private system models. He has a wide background and expertise in most commercial matters of international telecoms and since ‘retiring’ he has remained active in the industry as a consultant, commentator and at times a court appointed expert and has been a panellist and moderator at international events.

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110



INDUSTRY AUDIENCE Advertise in SubTel Forum publications used by decisionmakers across the entire industry: • SubTel Forum Magazine • Submarine Cable Almanac • Submarine Telecoms Industry Report • Submarine Cables of the World Wall Map • Submarine Cables of the World Online Map






he Nordics is becoming a prominent player in the datacenter market. Thanks to its role as a power hub for Europe, low temperatures, easiness of doing business and political and economic stability the Nordics is providing the ideal climate to build new datacenters. Several new submarine fiber optic systems where installed during 2019. With landing points in all the Nordic countries. All systems are providing a shorter route for time sensitive data and adding robustness to the datacenter industry. The Nordic people are high internet users and very data innovative. For internet gamers the new international submarine cable connections will reduce the latency to and from the Nordics. Every millisecond counts. This year Google will launch a new online network game which will require access to large amount of data streaming on the internet for the Nordic market. The need for robust redundant low latency continues to grow into the next decade of business climate.


BY DAG AANENSEN A total investment of $372 MUSD is expected in new submarine cable systems during a three-year period. The new submarine cable will add 122 new dark fiber pairs to the Norwegian coastline and 144 new dark fiber pairs intra Nordic.


The AEC-2 submarine cable system (Havfrue Consortium) is under construction and is expected completed in Q120 with ready for service by middle of 2020. Via the Havfrue cable, Norway and Denmark are directly connected with Ireland and the US East Coast. The North Sea Connect connecting Newcastle with Esbjerg is also under construction with expected RFS mid 2020. Tampnet installed a new sea cable connecting West coast of Norway with two oil platforms providing fiber redundancy for both Yme and Ula in the North sea. A new multiple fiber cable was installed further from Yme with final landing point in Aberdeen. EasternLight completed their first new fiber optic sea cable

system between Stockholm and Helsinki. BKK Digitek Norway installed a regional submarine cable between Bergen and Stavanger providing multiple fiber pairs to the new England Cable to terminate in Stavanger.


Submarine Cable System

Landing Points

Distance Km




US – IRL – DK – NO





Egresrund (NO) – Aberdeen (UK)




Skagen Fiber

Larvik (NO – Hirtsals (DK)




North Sea Connect

Newcastle – Esbjerg




Eastern Light

Helsinki – Stockholm




BKK Digitek

Bergen – Stavanger




England Cable NO-UK Com

Stavanger - Newcastle




Celtic Norse Trondheim (NO – Killala (IRL) 2100 No Q321 Two new submarine cable N0r5ke Bergen - Trondheim 200 No Q320 projects are recently fully financed, both with project startup in Q120. Skagen Fiber will connect the East coast of Norway with Jutland in Denmark and is expected RFS in Q320. The England Cable (NO-UK Com) will connect the UK to Norway via a 680 km submarine cable running between Stavanger and Newcastle. The England Cable is expected RFS in Q321. Both submarine cables will become an integrated part of Altibox Euroconnect-1, and provide new alternative fiber routes connecting the Nordics with the major global internet exchanges. N0r5ke, a Norwegian regional system will connect Bergen with Trondheim and is expected RFS in late 2020. Another upproductive. They who use data more efficiently will launch coming project is Celtic Norse with landing stations in Trond- new products and services ahead of their competition. The heim(Norway) and Killala(Ireland). Potential branching units Nordics need to continue to develop their data skills for are Scotland and Iceland. The cable length is approx. 2100 km, the future like machine learning, data mining, data analysis, minimum 8 fiber pair repeated system with RFS in late 2021. statistics and algorithms. With these new submarine cables in place, Norway can With a total of 9 new submarine projects adding 12,315 km serve the near edge computing market in the Nordics, Conti- of new km submarine fiber optical systems to the Nordics, the nental Europe and the UK. Services like archiving, managed region is laying out the red carpet for new datacenter establishservices, CDN, data analysis, HPC and sky-based services ments and for other industries to utilize on all of the regions can now easily be delivered to a global market. The country comparative advantages. We have only seen the beginning. STF has wind farms, hydro-electric power and the new submarine DAG AANENSEN is the CEO of Nordic Consulting. He possesses cables are landing in the heart of the country´s power sector. more than 25 years of senior technical, operational and Data is becoming for this century as oil was for the executive experience in the global telecommunications industry. He was responsible for buying/selling many of Europe´s previous one. A premise for growth and change. The new active fiber optical telecommunications systems for both submarine cables will spark innovation among the next undersea and terrestrial applications. generation of tech experts and help businesses across the Nordic Consulting provides project support for dark fiber and submarine cable projects. Nordics and capitalize on the immense value of data. Most recently, Dag delivered a full turn-key solution from business concept Using data science will help industry become more to investment decision for the England Cable submarine cable system.



Article #2 in a Series Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Telegraph to India



n November’s Back Reflection Bill Burns related the story behind a painting of the shore end cable landing in Aden in 1870. This image appears on the front cover of this year’s WFN Strategies wall calendar. The operation was part of what was later the Eastern Telegraph Co’s submarine cable to India, known as the ‘Red Sea Line’. Also, in the Exordium, Wayne provided some initial information about the celebrations being planned by the PK Porthcurno Trust for the 150th anniversary of the opening of this submarine cable. This article is the first in a series about these events, which will be run in a new feature section of SubTel Forum, up to and including the July edition. The June celebrations will include a dedicated exhibition in the Porthcurno Museum, and to support this, Bill and I set about trying to find two important Robert Charles Dudley (1826-1909) watercolours of the cable landing at Porthcurno. This article relates our progress in that quest. Early in the morning of 6 June 1870, the single-screw, three-masted ship Investigator inched into Porth Curnow Bay and landed the shore end of the cable coming from Carcavelos near Lisbon in Portugal. Two days later, the Hibernia completed the final splice, and John Pender (181696) was in Porth Curnow to witness these events. He and Sir Samuel Canning (1823-1908) the chief engineer of the Telephone Construction and Maintenance Co (Telcon), were in the temporary wooden cable hut at the site of the



cable station, and together they dictated the first test message to be sent over Pender’s system to Bombay. Both the landing and the first message were captured in sketches by the artist Robert Dudley, Some time afterwards, Dudley presented John Pender with a watercolour and a sepia wash of these scenes, and they became two of his most treasured possessions. Robert Dudley was a ‘Special Artist’ for the Illustrated London News (ILN) and as was the practice with field artists, rather than paint watercolours on location, he would make a series of sketches or line drawings and only later produce paintings and watercolours in his studio. These sketches would also have been used by the ILN’s wood block engravers to create the two images that appeared with the article describing the events in the issue published on 25 June 1870.


Over the years, this ILN image of the cable landing has been used in various publications on the history of submarine telegraph cables, up to and including The Cable King published in April 2018. The second image used in the ILN article is a more general view of Porth Curnow Bay. Again, the engraving for this image was produced from one of Dudley’s sketches but has been used far less often.


Exactly when Dudley presented the two drawings to John Pender is unknown. However, in 1894 Pender had a 316-page catalogue of his art collection assembled by Bradbury, Agnew & Co and printed by Whitefriars Press of London. It was entitled Pictures, Drawings and Sculptures forming the Collection of Sir John Pender GCMG, MP. A copy is held in the Paul Getty Museum in California, and is also on line at: The two Dudley drawings are listed in the Arlington Street watercolour drawings section of the catalogue, as shown here: Unfortunately, there are no images of either of these drawings, but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that Item 216 in the catalogue was the same scene as the ILN engraving. After Pender’s death on 7 July 1896, the vast majority of his art collection was sold at auction by Messrs Christie, Manson & Woods in their auction rooms at 8 King Street, St James Square London. The sale was scheduled to commence on Saturday 29 May 1897 and to last for three days, followed by a sale of his engravings on the 2 June. However, such was the interest and size of the collection that it took eight days for all the items to pass under the hammer. Ten sculptures, 417 oil paintings and watercolours, together with 161 engravings were sold. From this massive collection, 66 paintings listed in the Bradbury & Agnew catalogue were held back by the family; among them was the sepia wash of John Pender in the cable hut. Christie’s records indicate that the Investigator watercolour, Lot 147, was purchased for ten guineas by ‘D.G.’, but unfortunately Christie’s are unable to confirm who D.G. was. Sadly, this ends the established history of the Investigator

drawing, and no image of this watercolour has been found to date, but it seems probable that Dudley produced it from the same sketch that was the basis of the engraving in the ILN. The cable hut sepia wash was retained by John Pender’s youngest son, John Denison Denison-Pender (1855-1929), NOVEMBER 2019 | ISSUE 109


FEATURE and an image of it appears, along with the two ILN engravings, in the Jubilee Edition of the Eastern Telegraph Co in-house magazine, Zodiac, in August 1922. This company was founded by John Pender in June 1872 by merging the three companies that had built and operated the system from London to Bombay, and his son, John Denison, was by then its chairman.


After the death of Sir John Denison Denison-Pender GBE KCMG on 6 March 1929, the contents of his London residence, 6 Grosvenor Crescent, were sold at auction by Hampton & Sons of 20, St James’ Square, London S.W.1 The contents were sold off room by room and Lots 300 & 301 are catalogued as a single picture and a set of drawings by Robert Dudley: Again, no images were included in the sale catalogue, and there are no dimensions of any of them. Although the descriptions are too vague to be sure what they were, it seems likely that Lot 300 is the Investigator watercolour. The description is ‘Ships’ and there is only one ship (but several boats) in the Investigator drawing, but it also says ‘Landing Parties’ and the 1870 date is right. This would mean that John Denison-Pender perhaps bought the watercolour back from D.G., or that D.G purchased it on his behalf. It is also likely that the cable hut and the general Porthcurno landscape were among the seven drawings in Lot 301. Although the sale price is shown, the names of the purchasers are not, and Hampton & Sons are no longer in business. The next clue to the whereabouts of the Investigator watercolour comes from an auction on 1 June 1995. John Nicolson’s Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers in Haslemere, Surrey, sold Lot No 119: Robert Charles Dudley ‘Landing the Telegraph cable at Porthcurnow, Cornwall, 2nd June 1870, En-



gland to Lisbon’ size 14 x 22ins. Although the date of the cable landing was actually 6 June rather than 2 June, the size of the drawing is exactly the same as John Pender’s Investigator watercolour. Also, the detailed description of the scene could only have come either from notes on the back of the picture, something that was common practice for Dudley, or from a knowledgeable owner. The John Nicholson’s Auction Rooms

were contacted, but unfortunately, they do not keep records from before 2006, so they were unable to provide any information on the buyer or the seller, nor even supply a photo or description of the painting. Disappointingly, the trail currently ends there. However, a different line of enquiry was established after a search of the National Maritime Museum (NMM) online collections database revealed a Dudley watercolour with the following catalogue reference: ‘PAJ3524- Landing of a Cable End at Porthcurnow [i.e. Porthcurno, Cornwall] Uncatalogued, 1870, watercolour: bequeathed by H. Dalton Clifford through Vivian, Thomas & Jervis in 1992.’ The drawing’s size is slightly smaller than the Pender watercolour, at 344 x 525mm, but based on the description, it appeared that this might be a version of the Investigator drawing. Henry Dalton Clifford (1911-1991) was the nephew of Henry Charles Clifford (1861-1947) and the grandson of Henry Clifford (1821-1905). Henry Clifford was a mechanical engineer who rose to the rank of Chief Engineer of Telcon and was responsible for the cable machinery on board Great Eastern while laying the 1865 and 1866 Atlantic Telegraph cables. Like Dudley, Clifford was an artist in watercolours. The two men met on the Great Eastern in 1865, where they struck up a life-long friendship, and they are known to have exchanged several of their paintings. Henry Charles inherited his father’s talents and was an artist and sculptor, so it was not surprising to find that a Dudley picture of the Porthcurno cable landing had been handed down through the Clifford family to his grandson. Henry Dalton Clifford, known to the family as “Tony” to avoid confusion, was born on 20 August 1911 and trained as an architect. He established H Dalton Clifford & Partners a company of architects and surveyors at St Anne’s Gate, The Close, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, before retiring to Cornwall, where he lived at Abbey Mews, New Street in Penzance, there he owned a small hotel and antique shop.

In 1988, after the death of his wife, he donated a large collection of items to the NMM, including documents, cable samples, photograph albums, ILN engravings and watercolours. He died on 4 September 1991 and probate was granted to his solicitors, Vivian, Thomas & Jervis, on 30 April 1992. Henry left an estate of £527,516 and bequeathed two additional watercolours by Dudley to the NMM, one of which was PAJ3524. After an examination of this drawing in the Caird Library of the NMM, it can be reported that it is not a version of the Pender watercolour. It is signed by Robert Dudley but undated, and it is not even a scene showing the landing of a cable. The view is from the east side of the beach, whereas the Investigator drawing is seen from the cliffs to the west of the bay. The scene does have a main vessel sitting offshore, surrounded by smaller craft. It is difficult to assess the size of this ship, as it is head-on to the beach, but it is more likely to be a two-masted brig, rather than the 205ft long, three-masted Investigator. On the beach there are men, teams of horses, carts and some boats. In January 1975, Henry Dalton Clifford produced a catalogue of his collection, in which he describes this watercolour as follows: ‘the shore end of the Atlantic cable being landed at Porthcurno, Cornwall’. The scene has nothing to do with the Atlantic cables as they landed on the west coast of Ireland, but this catalogue entry is undoubtedly the source of the NMM’s erroneous description of this drawing. After Clifford made his major donations to the NMM, he updated his catalogue in October 1988 and the two Dudley watercolours were removed from the pictures section. It is probable that by then he had decided to bequeath them to the NMM on his death. If this watercolour depicts a scene related to submarine cables, the most logical explanation is that it shows a brig landing building material (possibly limestone for concrete production) in Porth Curnow Bay for the cable station and training school that were being constructed at that time. Whatever the truth of the matter, JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


FEATURE we are pleased to say that we have been able to help the NMM in correcting the description of this watercolour. The second watercolour of the Clifford bequest, PAJ3428, is signed by Dudley and dated 1871. It depicts two Spanish galleons in Porthcurno Bay, with boats bringing soldiers ashore and troops marching up the beach in quite a similar configuration to that of the cable end being brought ashore from the Investigator. In January 1975, Henry Dalton Clifford described this watercolour as follows: ‘Spanish Soldiers landing at the same point in the 16th century’; the same point being Porthcurno. It is well documented that in August 1595 the Spanish attacked Mousehole, Newlyn and Penzance. However, there are no records to indicate that they landed in Porth Curnow Bay, although this would seem a logical location to land unobserved. Dudley must have heard the stories while he was there to capture the scenes of the cable landing and was inspired to create this waJune this year will be the 150th anniversary of the tercolour when inauguration of the telegraph to India, and to mark he returned to this milestone, PK Porthcurno is planning a series of his studio the events to celebrate. These will include a re-enactment of the landing of the cable on 10 June, an exhibition on following year. “The Cable King” and “The 1870 Landing” that will open It is known early in June. In addition, there will be a performance that Dudley of a newly commissioned play, at the neighbouring was somewhat Minack Theatre on 22 June. obsessed with More details will be available on the website his namesake, ( and in the next addition Robert Dudley of SubTel Forum, in which this feature section will be (1538-88) 1st include an article on the installation of the 1870 cable Earl of Leicester, system to India. the favourite of Queen Elizabeth




I (1533-1603), and family correspondence suggests that he believed there was a strong family connection. Dudley’s wife was Amelia (Amy), the same as the Earl’s wife, Amy, née Robsart (1532-60); his eldest son was named after Lord Guildford Dudley (c.1535-54), the husband of Lady Jane Grey (1536-54), and his youngest son was named after Ambrose Dudley (c.1530-90), 3rd Earl of Warwick, the elder brother of the 16th century Robert Dudley. This interest in Elizabethan England would probably have contributed to the artist’s motivation in creating this scene. The whereabouts of the two Pender watercolours remains elusive, so the PK Porthcurno Trust would be keen to hear from anyone who can assist in locating either of these two missing Robert Dudley drawings. If you can assist in any way, please contact the Museum’s Director Julia Twomlow STF Since graduating in 1970, STEWART ASH has spent his entire career in the submarine cable industry. He joined STC Submarine Systems as a development engineer, working on coaxial transmission equipment and submarine repeater design. He then transferred onto field engineering, installing coaxial submarine cable systems around the world, attaining the role of Shipboard Installation Manager. In 1986, he set up a new installation division to install fibre optic submarine systems. In 1993, he joined Cable & Wireless Marine, as a business development manager and then move to an account director role responsible for, among others the parent company, C&W. When Cable & Wireless Marine became Global Marine Systems Ltd in 1999, he became General Manager of the engineering division, responsible for system testing, jointing technology and ROV operation. As part of this role he was chairman of the UJ Consortium. He left Global Marine in 2005 to become an independent consultant, assisting system purchasers and owners in all aspects of system procurement, operations, maintenance and repair. Stewart’s interest in the history of submarine cables began in 2000, when he project managed a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the submarine cable industry. As part of this project he co-authored and edited From Elektron to ‘e’ Commerce. Since then he has written and lectured extensively on the history of the submarine cable industry. From March 2009 to November 2015 he wrote Back Reflection articles for SubTel Forum. In 2013 he was invited to contribute the opening chapter to Submarine Cables: The Handbook of Law and Policy, which covered the early development of the submarine cable industry. To support the campaign to save Enderby House—a Grade II listed building—from demolition, in 2015 he wrote two books about the history of the Telcon site at Enderby Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula in London. The first was The Story of Subsea Telecommunications and its Association with Enderby House, and the second was The Eponymous Enderbys of Greenwich. His biography of Sir John Pender GCMG The Cable King was published by Amazon in April 2018.







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The major arguments in favor of communication through optical fibers was initially the offer of clean “error free” transmission. This argument was built during years 1980 against the radio communication that had intrinsic distortion by fading and so many sources of errors. Thus during more than ten years, in 1980-1990, optical communications were said “transparent transmission” in which the communication signal was untouched. During that time, integrated electronic silicon circuits were initiating their revolution and many areas of technology were starting to implement massive Digital Signal Processing (DSP) in particular for error correction: we can cite indeed radio communications, but also the compact disk (invented in 1979), or data recording on tapes. The marketing image of “error free transmission” with in addition the shared idea that optics was “faster than electronics” raised thus a barrier during 10 years against the introduction of signal processing in optical communication.

Figure1: High level schematics of the STM1 (155Mbit/s) FEC circuit demonstrator


In 1990, the powerful signal processing of Forward Error Correction (FEC) was known by specialist, the last success being the invention in 1980 of



Figure 2: CC4 as a showcase for unrepeatered cables with FEC signal processing

Compact Disk where Error Free restitution of the music was in fact based on FEC. But it was not known by the specialists of optical transmission. At the opposite, the well experienced engineers of optical communication, who had invented the digital optical transmission itself, were convinced that optical fiber transmission will forever be done transparently at the speed of light, faster than electronics! The introduction of FEC for optical fibers transmission had to come from somewhere else. Submarine communications was the last field to adopt digital signals due to the difficulty of the distance: TAT-8 in 1988 was the first digital transatlantic cable, 10 years after the deployment of terrestrial digital transport [Ref.1]. But at the opposite the submarine cable field was then the first adopter of Digital Signal Processing. The invention was done by a young Alcatel engineer, Jean Luc Pamart, in Lannion (French Britany), who -may be- did not fear the novelty. Jean Luc Pamart was convinced through his student experience that electronics integration will invade telecommunications. After few years in the submarine terminal development lab in Alcatel, he got the green flag to launch a demonstrator for Error Correction that could run at up to 155Mbit/s, the STM1 transmission speed that was in development at this time with the recent SDH introduction. The demonstrator prototype was built based on an existing chip set made available for other applications. In particular, a Reed Solomon FEC coder-decoder (CODEC) chip from LSI-Logic was available for data saving on 8 tracks magnetic tapes at

Figure 3: FEC coding gain increasing the span length of each span in a multispan system

20MHz. With a multiplexor 1 to 8 and memory buffers and Phase Lock Loops (PLL) chips available for a diversity of other applications, Jean Luc Pamart could design his demonstrator running at a flexible rate around 8 x 20 MHz that reach the 155 Mbit/s target. The 155 Mbit/s circuit pattern of the demonstrator is shown in Figure 1: This demonstrator done in 1990 came out of the lab immediately and was used in a Alcatel STM1 terminal products broadly deployed and soon duplicated by 4 to reach STM4 (622 Mbit/s) in a submarine terminal Alcatel FL5421 developed for the unrepeatered cables. The king application of Error Correction was initially to lengthen the possible span of unrepeatered cables, and the deployment of the Alcatel FL5421 terminal over the submarine cable Corsica-Continent-4 (CC4) was a key milestone. The long (190 km) unrepeatered cable was an interesting showcase of the industrial

credibility of FEC in optical transmission (despite the link was in fact error free without FEC!). The customer France telecom had an important communication plan around their new submarine cable deployment at that time [Ref2]. CC4 stayed the longest unrepeatered cable during many years.


The large scale take-off of FEC signal processing came in fact with optical amplifiers for two main reasons. First the amplifiers were targeting to replace digital regeneration by analog amplifiers [Ref3] and it was sprouting the idea that the principles used in Radio-communications could apply. But the main booster of the FEC idea was soon in the mind of the French Britany team that the FEC coding gain in the terminal was increasing directly each repeater span of a multispan system and not only the last span, as illustrated in Ref4 and Figure 3: JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110



The consequence becomes huge: it can either increase the longest achievable distance or increase the total capacity or decrease the number of repeaters, and finally a combination of both three benefits. When TAT12-13 first amplified transatlantic cable was designed by the consortium headed by AT&T with Alcatel, Alcatel designed his terminal with FEC boards based on the original demonstrator of Jean Luc Pamart, the 150 Mbit/s FEC circuit pattern being replicated 32 times on the same board to reach the 2 x 2.5 Gbit/s of the 5Gbit/s peculiar signal! When AT&T was convinced that FEC signal processing was the right way for TAT12-13 cable, Alcatel development was far ahead, and all 5Gbit/s submarine terminals with FEC were finally supplied by Alcatel. In fact the FEC function was already implemented in the original Alcatel board without FEC. The circuit was by-passed and ready to be turned on when the agreement with AT&T took place! Figure 4 of this paper taken directly from Reference 5 illustrate clearly in 1992 that in the original design of the GIGA-5 terminal of TAT12-13, the equipment was “FEC ready”, the room prepared for the FEC function being temporarily replaced by a buffer memory. Then the idea spread like a trail of gunpowder. AT&T propagated the idea in the Pacific for TPC5 and the Japanese suppliers were trained on FEC. From that time, all submarine amplified cables implemented after TAT12-13 are using FEC signal processing.




Figure 4: “FEC ready” architecture of the 5 Gbit/s terminal used in TAT12-13


Reed Solomon code RS 255/239 with its low 7% signal overhead was a good choice for optical systems unlike large overheads implemented in Radio-communications, and all systems over the world implemented right away this code after the Lannion demonstrator. Submarine cables are not usually searching for standards since all suppliers are usually targeting to differential from the competition more than to align together. And in fact FEC was a unique case where a complex standardization of the FEC took place in year 2000 after years of discussion to get ITU-G.975 “Forward error correction for submarine systems”. One has to admit that this ITU-G.975 norm was never used for interworking two submarine terminals at the end of any submarine link,

but it was propagating the concept and it was then introduced in the ITU-G.709 norm “Interfaces for the Optical Transport Network (OTN)” that describes a means of communicating data over an optical network and that is used for interworking in all today’s optical networks, terrestrial as well as submarine.

SUPER FEC AND THEN COHERENT SYSTEMS Digital signal processing had made his entry in optical communication through Forward Error Correction. The original RS 255/239 Reed Solomon code coming from the magnetic tapes was used during more than 10 years. Then the complexity of codes increased again to accommodate the increase of bit rates to 10 Gbit/s permitted also by the increasing potential of Integrated Silicon ASICs. The decade 2000 were the time of “Su-

per FEC” with many different ideas implemented to increase the coding gain. The results was the independent development by competitors of many different and non-compatible “super FEC” ASIC (see Ref.4). But in years 2000, Optical transmission itself even for submarine systems, was desperately one bit coding and with direct detection. The improvements versus the plain old NRZ (Non Return to Zero) Intensity Modulation was very slow and very shy limited to use of RZ (Return to Zero) in place of NRZ, or to use DPSK with Direct Detection in place of Intensity Modulation. All trials of coherent detection stumbled on the impossible control of polarization. After several years of active research, coherent communication was perceived in 1995 as a technical dead end, cutting the road to the advanced multilevel formats deployed since long in radio-communication systems. Digital signal processing offered again the solution more than ten years later when coherent systems could be implemented with ASIC having now more than 10 9 silicon gates. These chips combine extremely powerful FEC with processors able to compensate for polarization, but also chromatic dispersion and soon non-linear transmission penalties.


Optical transmission and digital signal processing was long seen as antithetical, optics “at the speed of light” being perceived as intrinsically faster than electronics. Submarine cables that were the last field in which digitali-

Digital signal processing offered again the solution more than ten years later when coherent systems could be implemented with ASIC having now more than 10 9 silicon gates. These chips combine extremely powerful FEC with processors able to compensate for polarization, but also chromatic dispersion and soon non-linear transmission penalties. zation entered in 1988 (with TAT-8), was in fact the first where optical transmission benefited from Digital Signal Processing: the first Forward Error Correction (FEC) implementation was done in a small development lab in French Britany by a young visionary engineer in 1991. Digital Signal Processing chips has now become the engine of our coherent optical systems [Ref. 6]: Multilevel optimized modulation in terminal equipment reaching the Shannon limit at channel bit rates far in excess of 100 Gbit/s, are built over a silicon digital chip exceeding by far all the dreams that optical engineers could have 30 years ago. The author is grateful to Jean Luc Pamart and François-Xavier Ollivier for illuminating discussions. STF JOSÉ CHESNOY, PHD, is an independent expert in the field of submarine cable technology. After Ecole Polytechnique and a first 10 years academic career in the French CNRS, he joined Alcatel’s research organization in 1989, leading the advent of amplified submarine cables in the company. After several positions in R&D and sales, he became CTO of Alcatel-Lucent

Submarine Networks until the end of 2014. He was member of several Suboptic Program Committees, then chaired the program committee for SubOptic 2004, and was nominated Bell Labs Fellow in 2010. José Chesnoy is the editor of the reference book “Undersea Fiber Communication Systems” (Elsevier/ Academic Press) having a new revised edition published end 2015. He was co-chairman of the OSA summer school subseaOFC in 2019. REFERENCES : Du Morse à l’Internet, R.Salvador, G.Fouchard, Y.Rolland, A.P.Leclerc, Edition Association des Amis des Câbles Sous Marins, 2006 (book) Corse-Continent 4 (CC4), E. Desurvire, “Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers at AT&T: a paced odyssey”, May 2018, N°100, p.48 J.Chesnoy, “The Epic of forward error correction in Submarine cables” Subtelforum magazine, July 2017,N° 95, p.49 A.Lecroart, V.Lemaire, F.Pirio, J.B.Thomine, « GIGA-5 : 5 Gbit/s transmission system », Commutation et transmission, Janvier 1993, N°13, p.13 Undersea Fiber Communication Systems, Ed.2, José Chesnoy ed., Elsevier/Academic Press ISBN: 978-0-12-804269-4 (book)

JANUARY 2020 | ISSUE 110


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019 was a transformative year, the SubTel Forum team accomplished a number of industry firsts, ranging from successful conferences to publication readership records – one of the greatest accomplishments was becoming an IACET accredited continuing education provider.


IACET Accredited Providers are a group of educators dedicated to quality in continuing education and training. All approved providers follow the ANSI/IACET Standard for Continuing Education and Training and have been thoroughly assessed by a third party, providing quality standard for their education. The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) developed the original Continuing Educa-

tion Unit (CEU) and today ensures that providers of continuing education and training can prove they provide high-quality instruction by following the ANSI/IACET Standard for Continuing Education and Training through a rigorous accreditation process. “We believe this may a first for our international industry; where accredited continuing education can be offered on any continent to industry personnel. As such, we are developing new training opportunities beginning in early 2020,” said Nielsen. “Since 2001, it has been our goal to provide education to the submarine cable industry, and now with IACET accreditation, we are taking a leap forward to that end.” Using this new accreditation, we intend to design educational courses that can then appear at industry conferences around the world. Classes will be on a variety of topics dealing with key industry issues. Our aim, as with so many other avenues of SubTel Forum, is to bring another opportunity for education to market. What differentiates this new training will be official, internationally recognized credits. SubTel Forum has been pursuing relationships within the industry to bring the highest quality content in training to market. To that end, we are pleased to announce that we have formalized an agreement with the Pacific Telecommunications Council to formally accredit training sessions developed with SubTel Forum and presented during the PTC Academy. The SubTel Forum Continuing Education team will work directly with subject matter experts and industry magnates to develop and deliver the highest quality training programs available. The future of the industry is looking brighter than ever! STF





CHINA PTC Academy provides exceptional management training to rising industry leaders. Learn about the global telecom sector, strategies to identify and solve business challenges and opportunities, emerging technologies, and more.



SEPTEMBER BANGKOK SEAN BERGIN Co-Founder & President, APTelecom, Cambodia

ERIC HANDA Co-Founder & CEO, APTelecom, USA

GARY KIM Consultant, IP Carrier, USA


DECEMBER TONY MOSLEY Director of Business Development, Ocean Specialists, Inc., USA

ANTHONY ROSSABI Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer, TierPoint, USA



Including special guest presenters at each course location. Additional courses to be announced.

COURSES ARE ACCREDITED PTC partnered with Submarine Telecoms Forum, an IACET-accredited continuing education provider, to bring PTC Academy into the next generation of industry CONTINUING EDUCATION training. With this partnership, PTC Academy now provides Continuing Education Units to applicable learning event attendees. These credits are internationally accepted and can be used to satisfy a wide variety of professional requirements across a range of industries.









Cable Cut Causes Yemen Internet Outage

Cook Islands Cable Connection Arrives in Rarotonga

Vietnam Cables to be Repaired by Next Month AAE-1 Submarine Cable Fault Slows Pakistani Internet

Tillamook County Approves Facebook Jupiter Cable


Chennai, Andaman & Nicobar Cable Work Begins

2020 ICPC Plenary – Call for Papers Due Date Soon!

Reliance Jio to Deploy New Submarine Cable Systems Facebook Riles Oregon Town With Plan for Cable

ESCA Plenary #54 Call for Papers

Nunavik May See Improved Video Streaming in 2020


Four Int’l Firms in Race to Build Third Submarine Cable

Seaborn Seeks Judicial Recovery for Seabras-1 Algeria Completes Mauritania, Spain Subsea Cable Link

Telebras Withdraws from Ellalink Submarine Cable

Vocus Completes Coral Sea Cable System

GO to Connect Malta to France, North Eastern Africa

MainOne Ready for Service in Cote d’Ivoire

JGA-S to Land at Queensland This Weekend

New Caledonia to Connect Hawaiki Cable Google Curie Cable to Add Panama Branch


Angola Cables, Nokia Trial Direct Route to USA

Vocus Wins Major Oil & Gas Contract in NW Australia

Hawaiki Signs Deal With Australia’s Anycast

DATA CENTERS Sparkle Data Center Adds DE-CIX Remote Peering Bulk Infrastructure Opens New Data Center Campus in Denmark Equinix Opens SY5 Sydney Data Centre

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Japan to Counter China Submarine Cable Presence CTM Inks Partnership Deal With Angola Cables Global Cloud Xchange Announces CEO Transition FCC Amends Outage Reporting Requirements Seabras 1 Bermuda, USA File for Chapter 11 Telxius Opens Northern Virginia Facility

TECHNOLOGY & UPGRADES NEC Qualifies 20 Fiber Pair Subsea Cable Systems WFN Strategies to Exhibit Dashboard Enhanced PM 2.0 at PTC ’20





’ll spare you my awful “2020 vision” jokes and simply wish you all a very Happy New Year! 2018 and 2019 were years spent re-designing, re-branding and re-inventing many of the publications and tools that we put out there for the industry. Much of these efforts were timed around industry events like PTC and SubOptic, the must-attend conferences for our niche industry. In 2018 we debuted the STF Analytics brand, a new website and analysis service designed around leveraging our literal ear to the ground in the industry and providing a new avenue for market reporting. We spun out STF Analytics as a new division of SubTel Forum, but perhaps we went too far. As with all brand decisions, the most well known and established brands must make incremental changes over time to adequately balance innovation with tradition. I often think of the terrific failure of New Coke in the middle of the 1980s. It’s a hallmark for playing with a good thing too much, of tweaking well past acceptance. In 2018 we spun out the STF Analytics division with the intention of putting a separation between paid reporting and the regular news that we provided with SubTel Forum, a free staple of the industry the tenets of which should remain unchanged. With all best intentions in mind, we opened a new domain for a website, did a flurry of marketing and rebranded the publications that were supported wholly by STF Analytics’ efforts, the Report, Almanac and Map. We wanted STF Analytics to have its own identity. Well, as it turns out, no one really cares

about identity. Not a single person mentioned the finely crafted marketing messages, no one ever questioned paid services, and not a single soul has ever questioned who this new analysis firm is. STF Analytics has been operating quite successfully now for two years and I honestly don’t think anyone sees the difference. Another division separated for reasons we had convinced ourselves were brilliant was STF Inc., the advertising and operational arm of SubTel Forum. Yet another website, but this one for housing the advertising portal and operational… stuff that we reckoned didn’t fit well with the original SubTel site. Again, best of intentions and I don’t think a soul noticed.

So, with that in mind, to hell with New Coke. We’re bringing all the divisions back home, back to the mother ship. STF Inc. and STF Analytics will be migrated back to our main site, not that anyone will notice. Operationally, advertising will be handled entirely the same, you buy a space through the site and everything ticks along like normal. That’s not a terribly exciting change, I admit, but it’s a good one none the less. What is exciting, however, is what we’ve done with STF Analytics. Up until now, we would write one of six reports once a year along with data sets all gathered by our Analysts and pored over in our proprietary Submarine Cable Database. You’d buy a report, or a dataset, and we’d let you know when it

Kristian Nielsen Vice President would be updated. That’s so last year, as they say. The future is accessibility and current data. Available now, I am proud to introduce the very new, very current Submarine Telecoms Forum Analytics division! An entirely new name, and completely original! With this new approach, we are offering subscriptions to our exclusive reporting and datasets. You can now, for an annual fee, read 6 reports on various topics ranging from datacenters to regional activity and associated datasets. These reports are updated quarterly and are available at just about any budget. The reports are no longer static PDFs either, they will now be online tools with interactive graphs where the data is able to be manipulated and exported. For instance, love the look of that one graph but the date range isn’t what you’d like for the one investor report you’re working on? Change the dates, adjust the zoom if you like, and export it. Our goal is to provide this industry with tools befitting a new generation of analysts, a new generation of cable professionals. Tools to light the future. With that, I bid you a productive and profitable New Year, let’s get to work. STF Yours Sincerely,

Kristian Nielsen Vice President

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