SubTel Forum Magazine #118 - Global Capacity

Page 1


FORUM ISSUE 118 | MAY 2021




head to the ballfield later this afternoon to watch the Washington Nationals baseball team play. An old business friend invited me, and with the ever-evolving “guidelines”, we were able to work out that Kristian and I could sit two rows ahead of him and others, which allows us to then switch seats mid-game and catch-up with multiple people. It’s an imperfect solution, but so much better than before. I am also mindful of what others in our world are still facing. India and elsewhere are reeling from this latest wave of the pandemic. Even the optimist in me is worried yet again and I pray they persevere quickly. On our side we are all well. As of yesterday, only one of us, a European, still needs vaccinating, and we are hopeful that will be accomplished soon. We held our first in-person company meeting last week in over 14 months and we had people fly in from Texas or drive up from North Carolina. A simple in-person meeting was probably one of the most positive things we have done in such a long time, and it allowed us an intimate, personal chance to look ahead. Plans for the way ahead are indeed beginning to take shape. Next week we will be publishing our latest edition of the Submarine Cable Almanac, thanks in no small part to its sponsor, Mertech Marine. We are excited to be working again with our friends at PTC, who offer herein their vision for the upcoming annual conference, as well as PTC Academy in which we provide accreditation, Webinar, VLOG, and young scholar program and research awards. We are also appreciative of our friends from ICPC, who have not only provided an excellent reflection on reliable capacity in this issue, but also continue to be a


A Publication of Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. ISSN No. 1948-3031 PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER: Wayne Nielsen |

leader in our industry, and we look forward to next week’s annual plenary. We are also thankful that ICPC has accepted one of our youngest in the team, Rebecca Spence, into the upcoming Rhodes Academy! This issue provides insight from authors in North and South America, Oceania, Europe, Asia, and West Africa. All have provided some excellent insight from their unique perspectives. Thank you, and also to BDA for sponsoring this issue. Welcome to an old friend, Philip Pilgrim, who will be taking over the Back Reflection section going forward. Phil has been one of those really interesting cats who over the years has been digging up industry artifacts, locating long lost cable landing stations or whatever; so, he is a welcome addition to the SubTel Forum family of department writers! Of course, our ever popular “where in the world are all those pesky cableships” is included as well. This month the world celebrated its 51st Earth Day, and we joined other companies in signing The Climate Pledge (www., a commitment by companies and organizations to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040. We encourage other companies and organizations in the submarine cable industry to follow suit. It’s a positive first step. STF Good reading and stay well,

Wayne Nielsen, Publisher

VICE PRESIDENT: Kristian Nielsen | SALES: Teri Jones | | [+1] (703) 471-4902 EDITOR: Stephen Nielsen | DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Weswen Design | DEPARTMENT WRITERS: Kieran Clark, Philip Pilgrim, Rebecca Spence, Terri Jones, and Wayne Nielsen FEATURE WRITERS: Adebayo Felix Adekoya, Asubam Weyori, Chris De Josselin, David Crowley, Ening Philip, Geoff Bennet, Gil Santaliz, Greg Varisco, Isaac Kofi Nti, Italo Godoy, Jason O’Rourke, John Tibbles, Jose Sousa Barros, Kristian Nielsen, Manuel Costa Cabral, Owusu Nyarko-Boateng, Patricio Boric, Ryan Wopschall, Sean Bergin, Simon Webster, Stuart Barnes, and Vincent Gatineau NEXT ISSUE: July 2021 — Regional Systems 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 © 2021 Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc.




ISSUE 118 | MAY 2021







OPTICAL NETWORKS IN CHILE By Patricio Boric and Italo Godoy




RELIABLE SUBMARINE CAPACITY By Ryan Wopschall and Simon Webster




THE FREQUENT CUTS OF SUBMARINE AND UNDERGROUND FIBER By Owusu Nyarko-Boateng, Adebayo Felix Adekoya, Asubam Weyori, Isaac Kofi Nti and Ening Philip


THE MISSING LINK By Greg Varisco and Dave Crowley




SOUTHEAST ASIA By Sean Bergin and Chris De Josselin




OPEN CABLES By Vincent Gatineau and Geoff Bennett





departments EXORDIUM................................................................... 2 SUBTELFORUM.COM..................................................... 6 STF ANALYTICS............................................................. 8 CABLE MAP UPDATE....................................................12 WHERE IN THE WORLD................................................14 BACK REFLECTION...................................................... 66 ON THE MOVE............................................................. 72 SUBMARINE CABLE NEWS NOW.................................. 73 ADVERTISER CORNER................................................. 74 MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118

5 to to find find links resources Visit linkstotothe thefollowing following resources

FREERESOURCES RESOURCESFOR FORALL ALLOUR OUR SUBTELFORUM.COM SUBTELFORUM.COM READERS FREE READERS The most popular articles, Q&As of 2020. TOP OFyou 2019 FindSTORIES out what missed! The most popular articles, Q&As of 2019. Find out what you NEWSmissed! NOW RSS FEED Keep on top of our world of coverage with our free News NEWSdaily NOW industry RSS FEEDupdate. News Now is a daily RSS feed Now Keep on top of our world of coverage with our freehighNews of news applicable to the submarine cable industry, Now daily industry update. News Now is a daily RSS&feed lighting Cable Faults & Maintenance, Conferences As-of news applicable to the submarine industry, highlighting sociations, Current Systems, Datacable Centers, Future Systems, Cable Faults & Maintenance, Associations, Offshore Energy, State of the Conferences Industry and&Technology & Current Systems, Data Centers, Future Systems, Offshore Upgrades. Energy, State of the Industry and Technology & Upgrades.

PUBLICATIONS PUBLICATIONS Submarine Cable Almanac is a free quarterly publica-

Submarine Cablethrough Almanacdiligent is a freedata quarterly publication made available gathering and tion madeefforts available through diligent data gathering and mapping by the analysts at SubTel Forum Analytics,



a division of Submarine Telecoms Forum. This reference mapping analysts at SubTel Forum Analytics, tool givesefforts detailsby onthe cable systems including a system map, a division of Submarine Telecoms Forum. This reference landing points, system capacity, length, RFS year and other tool givesdata. details on cable systems including a system map, valuable landing points,Telecoms system capacity, and free other Submarine Industrylength, ReportRFS is anyear annual valuable data. publication with analysis of data collected by the analysts of Submarine Report is an annualanalyfree SubTel ForumTelecoms Analytics,Industry including system capacity publication of data collected by the of analysts of sis, as well aswith the analysis actual productivity and outlook current SubTel Forum Analytics, including system capacity and planned systems and the companies that serviceanalythem. sis, as well as the actual productivity and outlook of current and planned CABLE MAP systems and the companies that service them. The online SubTel Cable Map is built with the industry CABLE MAP standard Esri ArcGIS platform and linked to the SubTel The online SubTel Cable Map is built withthe theprogress industryof Forum Submarine Cable Database. It tracks standard Esri ArcGIS platform and linked to the SubTel some 300+ current and planned cable systems, more than Forum Submarine Database. tracks46 thecable progress 800 landing points,Cable over 1,700 data It centers, shipsof

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. The printed Cable Map is an annual publication showcasing the world's submarine fiber systems beautifully drawn on a large format map and mailed to SubTel Forum Readership and/or distributed during Pacific Telecommunications Conference in January each year.


SubTel Forum tutorials teach how to use the ever growing SubTel Cable Map, including various map layers for data centers, cable ships, etc.


SubTel Forum designs educational courses and master classes that can then appear at industry conferences around the world. Classes are presented on a variety of topics dealing with key industry technical, business, or commercial issues. See what classes SubTel Forum is accrediting in support of the next generation of leaders in our industry.


The Authors Index is a reference source to help readers locate magazine articles and authors on various subjects.


SubTel Forum Subscribers have exclusive access to SubTel Forum online MSRs updated quarterly: DATA CENTER & OTT PROVIDERS: Details the increasingly shrinking divide between the cable landing station and the backhaul to interconnection services in order to maximize network efficiency throughout, bringing once disparate infrastructure into a single facility. If you're interested in the world of Data Centers and its impact on Submarine Cables, this MSR is for you. GLOBAL CAPACITY PRICING: historic and current capacity pricing for regional routes (Transatlantic, Transpacific, Americas, Intra-Asia and EMEA), delivering a comprehensive look at the global capacity pricing status of the submarine fiber industry. Capacity pricing trends and forecasting simplified. GLOBAL OUTLOOK: dive into the health and wellness of the global submarine telecoms market, with regional analysis and forecasting. This MSR gives an overview of planned systems, CIF and project completion rates, state of supplier activity and potential disruptive factors facing the market.

OFFSHORE OIL & GAS: provides a detailed overview o the offshore oil & gas sector of the submarine fiber industry and covers system owners, system suppliers and various market trends. This MSR details how the industry is focusing on trends and new technologies to increase efficiency and automation as a key strategy to reduce cost and maintain margins, and its impact on the demand for new offshore fiber systems. REGIONAL SYSTEMS: drill down into the Regional Systems market, including focused analysis on the Transatlantic, Transpacific, EMEA, AustralAsia, Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian and Arctic regions. This MSR details the impact of increasing capacity demands on regional routes and contrasts potential overbuild concerns with the rapid pace of system development and the factors driving development demand. SUBMARINE CABLE DATASET: details 400+ fiber optic cable systems. Including physical aspects, cost, owners, suppliers, landings, financiers, component manufacturers, marine contractors, etc. STF





andwidth demand continues to explode as both businesses and consumers increasingly rely on cloud services – especially in the post-COVID world. Hyperscalers continue to increase their percentage of overall telecommunications traffic and are driving more and more cables to meet their own demands. New markets are connecting to the global telecommunications network and continued desire for alternate routes to provide route diversity is keeping new system activity relatively high. All of this adds up to a huge need for the submarine fiber industry to stay ahead of the curve and continue to provide additional capacity to meet these growing needs. Can we keep up the pace? Welcome to SubTel Forum’s annual Subsea Capacity issue. Every May, we aim to take the industry’s pulse by looking at the future of our section of the telecoms market. Specifically, how much cable owners are planning to add to the ever-growing pool of capacity and what technologies are being implemented. The data used in this article is obtained from the public domain and is tracked by the ever-evolving SubTel Forum Submarine Cable Database, where products like the Almanac, Cable Map, Online Cable Map and Industry Report find their roots.



As new systems come into service and existing systems are upgraded, there is a continuing upward trend in global capacity to address the world’s demand for more telecoms services. This is mostly due to an ever-increasing demand for low latency, high bandwidth international connections, and to the almost exponential increase in demand for mobile and cloud services observed over the last few years. These factors show little signs of slowing down, so there is a strong expectation that demand will continue to rise at a rapid pace in the coming years. The overall Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the period

2016-2020 was 10.3 percent. Capacity increased the most by a CAGR of 13.8 percent and 14.2 percent during the years 2017 and 2018, respectively. There were only 9 systems that entered service in 2018 compared to the 15 in 2017 yet a similar capacity increase was observed. (Figure 1) With easy and cheap access to 100G wavelength upgrades and 200G/400G beginning to enter regular service, this comes as little surprise. New technology such as C+L band and Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) alongside an increase in fiber pair counts has also contributed to this capacity increase – despite the lower number of new cables.

Thousands (Tbps)

Global System Capacity by Year 2016-2020 6


5 4


3 2


1 0




Capacity (Tbps)





Figure 1: Global System Capacity by Year, 2016-2020

Global System Capacity by Year 2021-2024 Thousands (Tbps)

With continual technology improvements, new systems can provide ever increasing amounts of bandwidth over a single cable. In some cases, a single planned system is projected to nearly double the entire capacity of a region. When combined with upgrades to existing systems, global capacity is expected to skyrocket over the next several years. As new wavelength technologies like 150G, 200G and 400G begin to see commercial implementation, this capacity explosion should continue well beyond the immediate future. Based on reported data, global capacity is estimated to increase 58 percent from the end of 2020 through 2024. Multiple systems slated for the next several years will have design capacities of more than 100 terabits per second, with many others boasting bandwidth between 40 and 80 terabits per second. (Figure 2) While the CAGR appears to drop off after 2022, there is still time for new systems to be announced or currently planned systems to finalize their system designs. All systems currently planned are being designed with at least 100G technology in mind, so expect an even more drastic increase as the newer wavelength technologies see more widespread commercial use. Despite an overall increase in capacity from year to year since 2016, the average system capacity has been trending downwards. This is largely due to the implementation of 9 systems from 2017-2019 being put into service with under 30 Tbps of capacity. (Figure 3) Moving forward, however, expect a dramatic increase in average new















Capacity (Tbps)




Figure 2: Global System Capacity by Year, 2021-2024

system capacity. In the post-COVID world, international connectivity is more important than ever and hyperscalers continue to build large networks to support their global infrastructure. Systems planned through 2024 trend upward in a big way with respect to average system capacity.

Over the next 4 years, only 3 systems are planned to have 30 Tbps or less while 12 systems will have in excess of 100 Tbps. (Figure 4) New transmission technology and increased fiber pair counts will contribute to this trend as additional systems are announced. MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


ANALYTICS At the end of the day, it appears that the submarine fiber industry will be able to keep up with demand. Even accounting for some planned systems dying off and others getting delayed there will still be 2,000-2,500 Tbps of capacity added to the global network by the end of 2024 – a 37 percent increase in a worst-case scenario. Additionally, new technology that is now being made available allows for some truly massive amounts of capacity – over 200 Tbps on a single cable in some cases. While systems typically announce 18-24 months out from their RFS date and even though 2021 is almost half over there is still time for additional systems targeting 2023 to be announced. So, as long as people continue using more and more bandwidth, the submarine fiber industry has the capability to keep up. 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.




Average System Capacity by Year 2016-2020 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0






Figure 3: Average System Capacity by Year, 2016-2020

Average System Capacity by Year 2020-2024 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0






Figure 4: Average System Capacity by Year, 2020-2024



Defined Processes Template Driven PMP Based Project Management Approach Rigorous Documentation Controls Quality Assurance Focused Secure Records Storage Accessible and User Friendly

INTRODUCING THEVIRTUAL REP • In-Field Analysis Without In-Field Risk • Remote real-time analysis and reporting without the added cost of today’s in-field representation liabilities.


FEATURE SubTel 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 400+ current and planned cable systems, 45+ cable ships, 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. The SubTel Cable Map makes use of the ArcGIS Dashboards platforum. This allows users to see an array of key data points without having to dig through complicated menus and settings to drill down into the data that is important to you. Be sure to check out the slide over panel on the left hand side of the map to filter data based on Region, System Supplier, System Installer or System Owner. Want to know how much capacity is available along Transpacific routes or how many kilometers of cable a

supplier has produced over the last five year? Now all it takes is couple simple clicks to see your data! 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 STF

Since the last issue of the Magazine, we have been working very hard rolling out our brand new database. This overhauled system will allow us to provide updates more regularly, more accurately and connect in real time to the online map. We’re excited to push these capabilities forward – stay tuned for additonal updates and improvements!



THE FULL LIST OF UPDATED SYSTEMS ARE AS FOLLOWS: MAY 17, 2021 Systems Added Bifrost Havhingsten IRIS Labuan Bajo-Raba Leif Erikson Polar Express SVC Systems Updated

CANI Caribbean Express Columbus II DARE-1 Echo HAVSIL Japan-US OAC PISCES SING TAT 14 MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118




elcome back to Where In The World Are Those Pesky Cableships! As noted back in March, the global fleet of vessels have been hard at work this year, as have several vessel repair companies. After finishing the final EllaLink splice in the first quarter, the Ile de Sein went into the Damen Shiprepair Dunkirk location for some much-needed TLC. According to Damen the work will include removal of both rudders and propellers to renew both tailshafts along with various other tasks. The C/S René Descartes also spent time in dry zdock to receive a new coat of paint among other things, in South Korea. As of mid-April she is back in the water and back at work. Over the past 2 months, 44% of the daily entries reported no movement, and only one vessel remained stationary for the entire period. Figure 3 shows that there were 5 vessels still in transit,

though all were scheduled to arrive at their subsequent destination within a week’s time. The top 4 regions of activity have stayed the same

Figure 1: Ile de Sein entering Dunkirk, Photo by Nicolas Boulanger COURTESY LOUIS DREYFUS ARMATEURS




this month compared to March, though the order shifted slightly putting East Asia in the lead at 16% as you can see in Figure 4. In March, China Coast, South East Asia, and East Asia all saw 10% of the overall activity with West Africa in the lead at 11%, and overall, the 4 regions saw an increase in the number of vessels recording their positions in the areas. In the last two months, 11 vessels passed through East Asia with C/S Vega and KDDI Ocean Link spending the entire time in the region. China Coast had 9 vessels reporting it as their location with the CS Fu Hai spending the entire time there working on the H2HE system, where she will spend the majority of the next several months according to her owner SBSS. If the Fleet Distribution Figure 5 looks a little different, that’s because it is! We have been hard at work researching all the vessels we track to make sure the information we list is as up to date as possible, and the companies that control the current fleet are often in flux. Alcatel has culled its numbers while new players like OMS Group and DNEX have joined. As always, if you ever have a need to highlight a specific vessel or project news, please feel free to reach out to me at And if you want an update before the next issue is released, you can always visit the SubTel Forum Interactive Cable Map at for daily updates. STF

REBECCA SPENCE is the newest member of the SubTel Forum team. She joined our ranks as a Research Analyst at the end of 2019. A graduate of Christopher Newport University, this is Rebecca’s premier article for the STF magazine.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118




Talking Technology Trends with TMG’s President



TMG’s mission is to provide strategic, policy, regulatory and economic advisory services to public and private sector clients in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital economy sectors. We aim to help our clients define and implement innovative solutions to meet their business objectives in the short, medium, and long term.



TMG conducts due diligence and develops feasibility studies in the submarine cable market. We support clients in defining commercial strategies and institutional models to implement submarine cables.



TMG, jointly with WFN Strategies, recently completed a feasibility study for the proposed Humboldt cable linking Chile—and Latin America more broadly—directly with the Asia-Pacific Region. The 15,000 km Humboldt



cable will have landing points in Valparaiso, Easter Island and San Juan Fernandez, Chile; Auckland, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia. We are currently starting work on an implementation phase of the Humboldt system.



TMG brings its experience and expertise across the broader ICT and digital economy sectors to our submarine cable engagements. Our familiarity with matters including legal and regulatory reviews, business strategies, market analysis, and competition across various components of the broadband value chain and the technology industry gives us a unique perspective on submarine cable projects and, importantly, downstream users and services. We work closely with our clients to ensure consideration of both targeted questions and issues as well as big-picture factors.



First, our team – which comprises a stellar multidisciplinary group of attorneys, market analysts,

economists, and engineers. Second, we have a niche focus – providing advisory services on ICT matters internationally, particularly in emerging markets. Third, we have represented governments on over 70 projects around the globe, allowing us to gain first-hand knowledge of their frameworks and ICT markets, as well as develop relationships with key regulator and policymakers. These experiences and relationships, coupled with the skill sets of our team, allow us to better advise our private sector clients.



Our sector is continually evolving which is what makes TMG’s work interesting and rewarding. In addition, we have the privilege of working with top tier tech, telecom, satellite, manufacturing companies, as well as start-ups and investment companies, that are constantly innovating. Our projects and areas of focus continually evolve with the industry and our client interests. In the submarine cable sector, we look forward to continued engagement with clients in the public and private sectors to support new projects to improve connectivity and service quality

for end users. More broadly, we will continue to work with our clients as they engage on emerging issues, such as 5G, digital regulatory issues, next generation WiFi, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. STF As President of TMG, JANET HERNANDEZ, an attorney, has 30 years of experience advising clients on regulatory and policy matters in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. She focuses on international issues, particularly in emerging markets. Her client base includes governments, top-tier tech, telecom, satellite, and media companies, as well as trade associations, investment banks, manufacturers, and multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the International Telecommunication Union. She is a frequent author and speakers on topics such as broadband, 5G, artificial intelligence, and digital regulation. Prior to working at TMG, Ms. Hernandez was a Partner and head of the Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Group of the international law firm, Coudert Brothers LLP. In addition, she worked in the Chief Counsel’s Office of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Ms. Hernandez obtained her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree from Florida International University. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

TECH CENTRAL 99 per cent of the world’s communications is carried on submarine cable networks, increasingly critical infrastructure because of the exponential growth of data. Bermuda’s centrality makes it the ideal landfall and interconnection point for cables between the Americas, Europe and Africa. The island’s government and regulators are working with global tech companies to establish an Atlantic digital hub here, ensuring speed and security for the data upon which we all depend.


MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118






The geographical and topological characteristics of Chile constitute a great obstacle for the development of telecommunications networks. Indeed, its long and thin territory plus the extreme southern region full of fjords and channels are unmatched in the world. This article presents a summary description of the evolution of the telecommunications cable industry in Chile, from the installation of the first of them in 1852 to the current scenario where 99% of the inhabited territory will soon be connected through fiber optic cables.




Chile has 19 million inhabitants and is in the south of the South American west coast, a country of middle income, with a territory of more than 4,100 km long with north-south orientation, and no more than 200 km wide at its largest part. The population is mainly settled along some 1,000 km located in the center of the country and presents a medium-high degree of digital development. The country is experiencing the effects of the pandemic and its pressure for more and better Internet connections, as everywhere.


At the beginning of the Republic, during the first half of the 19th century, the main economic activities were mining, agriculture, trade, and an incipient international trade by sea. For this reason, the first telegraph cable in the country was installed in 1852 linking the capital Santiago and the main port, Valparaíso. From that moment on, the deployment of telegraph cables did not stop and culminated well into the twentieth century with the “All America Cable” that linked Chile and the United States along the Pacific coast. An important milestone occurred in 1968 when the Longovilo Earth Station, the first in Latin America, was put into service, thus initiating the era of international satellite communications. Chile also built a national microwave and satellite network that allowed the beginning of the massification of telecommunications throughout the country.

FOA, a submarine project, and through the Fibra Óptica Nacional, FON project, a collection of terrestrial segments along the country. Thus, through public and private investment, Chile will have within a couple of years all its communes connected by fiber optics, a huge achievement given the geographic and topological conditions that the country presents. The long coastline of more than 4,000 km has favored the installation of submarine cables as well, which allow the mutual restoration with terrestrial cables to offer route diversity, robustness, and quality of service to the country’s telecommunications.


The market has developed in 2021 to levels of Santiago competition never seen before in Chile, characterized by the drop in prices of services for the population and the multiple operators present. In addition, the country has already award4. MODERN TELECOMMUNIed the 5G radio spectrum CATIONS throughout the national Starting in the late territory. 1980s, the Chilean marThe first fiber optic ket was opened to private cables installed early in investment, while the old the 1990s are near to the state-owned long disFiber optic network coverage in Chile end of life so that after tance and home telephone (Source: Undersecretariat of Telecommunications, Chile) completing the rural companies were privatized. connections, the country Thus, market conditions will probably have to begin a process of renovating the first were generated that attracted investments to build, as of optical networks. 1990, the first national and international optical networks, initially covering the most densely populated areas of the country. The first submarine fiber optic cable was the PanA- 5.1 FIBER OPTIC DOMESTIC NETWORKS, merican Cable in 1997, which connects Arica, Chile with SUBMARINE AND TERRESTRIAL the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, and countries The current situation of Chile appears in the following in between. diagram, in which the main routes currently used by the However, the less densely populated rural and remote different operators are shown in green, as a reference, and areas of Chile were left behind and were not connected are shown the domestic submarine cables and the fiber by fiber optics, their population counting only on mobile project FON. The country is divided into three main areas: telephony, data, and Internet services. Even though mobile North, Central, and South. services have achieved coverage of 99% of the inhabited Currently, there are seven telecommunications compaterritory over time, successive governments understood the nies that own optical networks covering these areas, totally importance of having a country also connected by fiber or partially: optics, in all inhabited urban and rural areas. In this way, 1. CLARO (América Móvil subsidiary) Network coverage: as of 2015, state subsidies became available to connect north and central the missing rural areas, through the Fibra Optica Austral, 2. ENTEL Network coverage: north, central, and south Main Routes FON Project FOA Project Prat Cable System

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE 3. INTERNEXA: Network coverage: central, south 4. MOVISTAR Network coverage: north, central, and south 5. MUNDO PACÍFICO Network coverage: central, south 6. GTD / TELEFÓNICA DEL SUR: Network coverage: north, central, south 7. SILICA NETWORKS CHILE: Network coverage: central, south Apart from these telecom companies, there are other optical networks owned by utility companies for their purposes (companies in the electricity, mining, and railway sectors), which are not described in this article. North Zone Three companies operate in this area and mutual restoration agreements have been signed between terrestrial networks to protect the traffic. In addition, these three companies jointly built an additional fiber optic cable between Santiago and La Serena via a diverse route. This cable has 96 fibers cable where each company owns 32 fibers. The Prat submarine cable owned by GTD is also another key player beginning its service and adding a fourth operator in the north area. Central Zone Five companies operate in this area providing connectivity services for the 5th and Metropolitan regions, and to Argentina. Several of them provide mutual backups or by their own means through rings by various routes. South Zone Six companies operate in the southern zone, three of them providing connectivity services between Santiago and Valdivia with mutual support agreements. The other companies own partial sections and use the networks of other operators to complete the connectivity in this southern zone. In addition, two companies connect Punta Arenas, Chile, and Río Gallegos, Argentina. Special mention is due to our two domestic submarine cables that cover the whole coast of the country: Cable Prat This is a non repeatered, festoon-type submarine cable owned by GTD, which connects 12 coastal cities in Chile, starting in the extreme north of Arica to Puerto Montt in the southern zone. In this city it is connected to the existing submarine cables of GTD covering up to Coyhaique,



passing through Chaitén and Chiloé. It has a total length of 3,500 kilometers and is composed of 36 fiber filaments with a capacity of 9.6 Tbps per pair of filaments. The installation of this cable was completed in 2020 and it is close to starting its commercial operation. FOA (Fibra Optica Austral) This a repeatered submarine cable that connects the cities of Puerto Montt (located 1,000 km south of the capital Santiago) with Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan (a city without a land route through Chilean territory), and with the town of Puerto Williams in the extreme south of the country, near Cape Horn. In addition, it has an intermediate bypass in Caleta Tortel, which will allow connectivity to various isolated locations such as Cochrane, Chile Chico, and Río Ibáñez through terrestrial networks. The total length of the submarine cable is approximately 3,000 km and it has two pairs of fiber optics. It was built through a subsidy from the Chilean government of approximately US $ 100 million and awarded the concession in its marine section at the end of 2017 to CTR company, completing its construction in 2020. Before this cable started operation, communications with the city of Punta Arenas at the southern end had to be conducted through Argentine territory or by satellite. FON (Fibra Optica Nacional) project The FON project recently awarded state subsidies for about US $ 120 million and will come into operation during 2022, for the deployment of about 10,000 kilometers of fiber optics in rural areas with low or no fiber coverage, which will benefit more of 3 million users from 203 communes from the Arica and Parinacota Region to the Los Lagos Region in the south. The main objective is to improve the digital connectivity of all the citizens of Chile. The project was divided into six macro zones, of which five were awarded to the company WOM and the sixth to Movistar.


Several crossings of the Andes mountains allow the optical connection from Chile to Argentina: • Punta Arenas – Río Gallegos, 2 cables • Coyhaique – Neuquén, 2 cables • Temuco – Junín de los Andes 1 cable • Osorno – Bariloche, 3 cables • Santiago – Mendoza, 2 cables • Santiago – Buenos Aires, 1 cable

In the northern part of the country, Entel owns two cables: Arica - La Paz (Bolivia) and Arica - Tacna (Peru), and Movistar has another Arica – La Paz optical link.


There are currently four submarine cables that interconnect Chile with the rest of the world (one of them for the private use of its owner, Google), and there are at least two in a construction project, and another in the feasibility study phase. The cables currently in operation are: On the one hand, there are the oldest cables: PAN AM (PanAmerican), South American Crossing (SAC)/Latin American Nautilus (LAN), and South Americas-1 (SAm-1). The PAN AM cable was the first submarine cable in Chile and is close to its end of life. The second, SAC, is a ring along South America. The companies Lumen and Telecom Italia Sparkle participate in the ownership of this cable. In addition, ISA leases 2 lambdas of 2.5 Gbps. each to LAN Nautilus. The current capacity of the cable is 1.2 Tbps. The year of entry into operation was 2001 and its estimated date of termination of service is 2026. The overseas connectivity provided by Lumen in Chile is complemented by the land cables between Valparaíso – Santiago, and Santiago - Buenos Aires. The third of the oldest cables, SAm-1, is also a South American ring. The cable is owned by Telefónica through its subsidiary Telxius. The current capacity of the cable is 1.92 Tbps. The year of entry into operation was 2001 and the estimated date of termination of service is 2026. The overseas connectivity provided by Telxius in Chile is complemented by a 2,100 km terrestrial network link that connects Buenos Aires in Argentina with Valparaíso in Chile. Latest submarine cables and new projects: • Curie: This cable is owned by Google with landing points at the Equinix IBX data center located in El Segundo, Los Angeles (USA) and Valparaíso, (Chile), from where it connects to the Google data center in Quilicura, Santiago. The cable has four pairs of fibers and contemplates a potential future derivation in Panama; its total length is 10,500 km and a total capacity of 72 Tbps., of which the Telecom Italia subsidiary Sparkle, acquired rights to a fiber pair with a capacity of 19 Tbps. Its installation was completed in mid-2019, being the first submarine cable to connect to Chile in the last 19 years. • South Pacific Submarine Cable (SPSC) Mistral: The construction of this cable was announced by the consor-

tium formed by América Móvil and Telxius (a subsidiary of Telefónica) in mid-2019, and it will have an estimated initial capacity of 108 Tbps. with 6 pairs of fibers, and it will be ready this year. In its 7,300 km of extension, it will connect Puerto San José (Guatemala) with Salinas (Ecuador), Lurín (Peru), Arica, and Valparaíso in Chile. The laying of this cable has been completed very recently. • SAPL (South America Pacific Link): This new cable is a project by Ocean Networks, Inc., announced in 2016 to be operational in its first stage (Florida - Valparaíso), at the beginning of 2019, which has not happened to date. Its initial advertised capacity was 10 Tbps. To date, there is no clarity on the status of this project. • Humboldt Cable System: In mid-2020, the Chilean government completed the first phase of feasibility studies on a project for a submarine cable from the Pacific to Asia, opting for a 13,000 km route from Valparaíso (near the capital Santiago), to Auckland, New Zealand, and then continue to Sydney, Australia. Chile hopes to then be able to take advantage of the Australian submarine cables leading to Asia. The cable could include branches on the Chilean islands of Juan Fernández and Easter Island. The project is now in its engineering study stage of the selected route and should then lead to the tender for the construction of the cable. To date, two other countries in the region have confirmed their participation in the financing of this project, and they are looking for a strategic partner to begin its construction at the end of 2022, or the beginning of 2023.


The data centers market in Chile is made up of more than twenty companies that own infrastructure to offer services to third parties, in addition to about fifteen providers that offer services, but only through applications in the cloud, that is, without infrastructure. Within the first group, the following companies stand out (some of them with several buildings): ADEXUS, Lumen, CLARO, MOVISTAR, ENTEL, NETGLOBALIS, GTD, S&A, Hewlett Packard, SONDA, IBM, SYNAPSIS, SINTESIS. In addition, Huawei was recently added with a first data center inaugurated in 2019 and a second under construction; the North American company EdgeConneX, and the Brazilian company Ascenty; In addition, a data center of the also Brazilian company, Odata, is in the process of environmental permissions. Another large company MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE that has announced a new data center in Chile is Oracle. Additionally, there are the private data centers of different organizations used for their purposes, without offering services to third parties. In this category, those of Google stand out, with a first data center in Quilicura since 2018 and a second under construction in the district of Cerrillos; These two data centers complement the Curie submarine cable of that company that connects Los Angeles, California with Valparaíso. Similarly, Microsoft announced late last year the implementation of a data center network in Chile and the creation of a new data center region in the country that will join Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure. Amazon company has postponed its decision on where to locate a data center for the southern cone, whether in Argentina or Chile. In any case, AWS announced last year that it would at least install an Edge Location in our country. Most data centers in our country are located in the metropolitan region, but recently some companies such as GTD and Silica Networks have built data centers in the southern part of the country. The start of the FOA cable operation together with the development of some scientific or academic applications could promote the construction of a data center in the Magallanes region, taking advantage of its proximity to Chilean Antarctica.


The spectrum tender for 5G networks in Chile ended in February with US $ 453 million raised for the award of 1,400 MHz in total. In that tender, the new entrant company WOM was awarded 20 MHz in the 700 MHz band and 30 MHz in the AWS band. In the other two bands, WOM together with the incumbents Movistar and Entel were awarded each one 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band and 400 MHz in the 26 GHz band. Starting in May of this year, the deployment of 5G and the commitments of the compensation will begin. In addition to the commitment to deploy this technology in three years, the operators awarded with different bands must comply with the requirements that accompany the respective technical projects, which implies that in the first 12 months after the award, they will have to connect 100% of the primary hospitals. At 18 months, WOM, owner of the 700 MHz band, must have 100% of the connected rural towns that are part of the benefits of that spectrum, where a population of 322,000 inhabitants is calculated for each area, in 9,170 km throughout Chile. On the other hand, WOM, Movistar, and Entel, as winners of the 3.5 GHz frequency, will have to connect



hospitals, ministries, regional and provincial capitals, as well as other areas of interest. The Undersecretariat of Telecommunications estimates that 5G investments will mean about US $ 4,000 million in the next 5 years to meet the technical requirements of the tenders, plus marketing. It is expected that in three years there will be a minimum deployment of 6,500 new antennas.


Considering the described fiber optic trunk cable infrastructure, it can be assured that the country is well prepared to provide next-generation digital services in 99% of the inhabited territory. It is expected that isolated areas, often indigenous, will develop at a slower rate and will integrate into digital modernity more slowly. On the other hand, the urban population, already digitally integrated, does not stop demanding more and better digital services. The existence of fiber optic cables installed in this way, according to the technical specifications, following the best engineering practices, makes it possible to expect a network useful life of 25 years, during which several generations of optical transmission equipment will be developed, allowing a constant increase in bandwidth available on the network with each equipment update. In this way, the data center, internet, last mile, mobile and fixed telephony industries can develop on solid foundations, mounted on the available national and international, submarine, and terrestrial, fiber optic layers. On the other hand, the Humboldt project linking Chile - Oceania - Asia, will allow Chile to position itself as a digital hub for the entire Southern Cone and the rest of Latin America, also connected through the national and international optical infrastructure of the 21st century that we have described. STF PATRICIO BORIC was born in 1951 in Punta Arenas, Chile. He got an electrical engineer degree in Universidad de Chile in 1978. He worked for ENTEL Chile since 1975 up to 2003 in different positions of the Operations Division of ENTEL. Since 2004 he owns Zagreb Consultores, a consultancy firm in telecommunications. ITALO GODOY was born in 1960 in Rancagua, Chile. He got an electrical engineer degree in Universidad de Chile in 1988. He worked for ENTEL Chile during the 90’s and for Global Crossing from 2000 up to 2015. Oriented to design, construction, operation and maintenance of optical networks, terrestrial and submarine. Since 2016 he owns Submarnet, a consultancy firm in telecommunications.



We all know what it feels like to suffer from intermittent coverage on our cellphone, or to experience unexplained dips in broadband speed at home. At best, it may be a minor inconvenience, perhaps the difference between a successful video call and a frustrating experience for all. On the other hand, the Internet pervades so much of modern life that it contributes significantly to business efficiency, innovation and a host of social benefits. Some people go further, arguing that access to the Internet is a human right. Whatever your view is on that, it is clear that network outages are more than just a nuisance – they can cause direct and significant economic damage. As an example, a 2016 report commissioned by Submarine Cables UK and the UK’s Crown Estate1 estimated that the value of submarine telecom cables to the country’s economy was £62.8bn per year ($86.9bn). Interruptions in service can occur at multiple points in the telecom network, but when a submarine telecom cable is impacted, the consequences can be extreme. The data capacity carried by a single long-haul submarine telecom cable is now in the range of hundreds of terabits per second, traffic which includes data center replication, social media updates, financial transactions, gaming data, and of course international phone calls.

BY RYAN WOPSCHALL AND SIMON WEBSTER Nevertheless, incidents do occur - there are around 200 submarine cable faults around the world each year. Where possible, much of the traffic is re-routed onto alternate cables installed on similar routes, under prior agreements between cable owners and other stakeholders. Many of the world’s largest Internet technology companies have built three or four cables on important transoceanic routes to be protected in case a cable is cut or damaged. Some coastal states however have yet to achieve that degree of resilience in their submarine network, and when those countries are hit by a cable outage, the whole population tends to suffer from poor connectivity and its economic consequences. For many years, Bangladesh relied on the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable as its sole international submarine network connection, and during maintenance work on the system had to use terrestrial links through India to maintain fiber connectivity with the outside world. This resulted in slow Internet speeds for most users, sometimes for periods of several days.


Demand for international capacity is continuing to soar. TeleGeography’s 2021 Global Internet Map2 shows a 35% rise in international Internet capacity between 2019 and 2020. That figure is not an exact proxy for cable capacity MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE but is indicative of the trend. Fundamental reasons for continued growth in submarine cable capacity include the following: • User behavior drives capacity demand. The latest craze in the app space tends to generate ever more international Internet traffic, particularly if video-based. Of course, most video content will be cached close the end user, but first it has to be delivered around the world via submarine cables. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that live streaming video is not only possible, but also in some ways superior to air travel for conducting business. Many expect videoconferencing to remain a part of ‘business as usual’, particularly for long distance collaboration • Fulfilling capacity demand drives user behavior. In a virtuous cycle, the very availability of higher Internet bandwidths fuels the development of applications which demand them • New technology and new users. 5G is an example of technology, which is expected to launch a new wave of bandwidth-hungry, low-latency applications. Likewise, fiber-to-the home rollouts are reaching users in areas further from centers of high population density • New geographies are being served. As user demand grows, islands which have previously relied on satellite connectivity are increasingly recognizing the economic and social benefits of submarine cables. Recent beneficiaries of new submarine cables in the Pacific Ocean include the island nation of Palau, and Yap, one of over 600 islands making up the Federated States of Micronesia


tical fiber. In a repeatered cable system, the noise power is dominated by the optical amplifiers in the repeaters. Trying to increase the SNR by transmitting a higher signal power only works up to a point. Beyond that point, optical nonlinearities caused by the high intensity of the light in the fiber create additional noise, negating any benefit. As for the dry plant, coding and modulation advances in submarine line terminal equipment are leading us towards generations of transponders which approach the Shannon capacity limit for a given cable. Further innovation in transponder technology is possible, but large capacity gains are becoming ever harder to foresee. Another direction we could take is to increase the number of fiber pairs in a cable. Today, there are cables under construction containing up to 16 fiber pairs, and that figure is expected to rise to 24 fiber pairs shortly. But these are more recent developments being made by the world’s leading cable suppliers, and beyond these fiber counts, it becomes harder to be confident in future significant increases in fiber pair count. Packing fibers more densely into a limited space tends to result in increased optical attenuation, a disadvantage which generally outweighs the benefit of a higher fiber count. Developing a larger cable design would increase the internal space available, but require more materials, impairing the cost-effectiveness of this approach. Indeed, the trend in the last 20 years has been to reduce the external diameter of lightweight cable cores where possible. As the quantity of cable held on an installation vessel is limited, on longer cable systems the use of a significantly heavier cable will also require more ship loads. While higher fiber count cables are a response to the global demand for capacity on major transoceanic routes, consolidating so much capacity on one cable has and will continue

So why does the trend for more capacity necessarily translate into more cables? The business case and the optimum technical solution for each cable is different, but there are some underlying constraints looming. The following discussion applies to repeatered submarine cables, which make up the vast majority of the world’s submarine cable kilometers. Firstly, the maximum achievable transmission capacity per fiber pair is constrained by the well-known Shannon Law, which enumerates that maximum theoretical capacity for a given signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in a communications medium, the op- Figure 1: Percentage of Cable Faults Related to Different Causes4



a self-healing enterprise. Everything will continue to grow, to drive requirements for cable diversity and resilience. including more cables. Other technologies such as the use of the L-band, multicore fibers, and quasi-single mode fibers offer other ways to go. However, the candidates for the highest potential CAN CRITICAL CABLES COPE? gains in capacity are still under development. The March As a result, cable awareness and protection become even 2021 issue of Submarine Telecoms Forum contains a useful more critical as each cable carries a vast amount of data. comparison of these alternatives3. This underscores the very criticality of this infrastructure, Another significant constraint on transoceanic systems particularly for those countries, as mentioned above, that is electrical powering. Most telecom cables today have a may only have one or two international submarine cables withstand voltage rated at 15kV. For a given line design, the coming to its shores. However, the traditional mechanisms required end-to-end voltage drop across a single cable span that pose risk to cables are not changing, at least not at a scales linearly with the number measurable pace. of fiber pairs, and may approach Bottom contact fishing, the upper voltage limit in high such as trawling, accounts for fiber count cable. In some systhe majority of cable faults tems, it may be possible to split worldwide and cable awareness the powering of a long segment among fisheries has been at the by deploying intermediate power forefront of the submarine cable feed equipment at a mid-point industry for decades. This is the such as a convenient island, but predominant reason for armorthat is not always an option. If ing and burying cables down to cable purchasers wish to maindepths of 1,000 meters. Howtain the capability of single end ever, fishing vessels are pushing power feeding, a capacity limit is into ever deeper waters on approaching. continental slopes and modern Taking all the above considcables are being buried down to erations together, it is reasondepths of 1,500 to 2,000 meters able to speculate that meeting in some areas. continued demand for submaNext to fishing, vessel anrine capacity points to more cachors account for the largest bles being deployed. Key drivers amount of cable faults worldfor future deployments will be wide based on cable fault stathe need for route and landing tistics kept by the International site diversity, redundancy along Cable Protection Committee important geographic routes, (ICPC) since 1959. Cable and a continued demand for abrasion, dredging, and natural overall resilience of a network. events (geologic events such And it’s not just for a connecas submarine landslides and tion to the Internet. Consider turbidity currents) each acFigure 2: Example of a fish aggregation device (FAD) for a moment that the major count for 5% or less of the total builders of submarine cables all offer cloud-based services amount of cable faults each year. in the form of social media platforms, and personal and What is changing, however, is the number of seabed enterprise cloud storage and file sharing, among many other users. Offshore renewable energy continues to grow worldnetwork-dependent services. These services have permeated wide, with large areas of seabed being utilized in proximity our world in very useful and essential ways (the COVID-19 to submarine cables and having an impact on where future pandemic has shown us this). But as data is being creatcables can be routed as they approach shore. Deep seabed ed by all of the users around the world, both humans and mining, managed by the International Seabed Authority machines, that data has to be moved along a network and (ISA), is allocating large swathes of seabed in the North has to be stored as well. The virtuous cycle, in essence, isn’t Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans for exploration and MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE exploitation of rare earth minerals5. And the United Nations is working on developing an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). And while these are large scale activities, small scale marine and seabed activities also exist. Fish aggregation devices (FADs) have always been known by the submarine cable industry as posing a risk to vessel navigation as well as an obstruction that should be avoided by submarine cables. However, as new routes are being developed, particularly where long-haul submarine telecom cables have never been routed before, FADs have surfaced as a substantial risk simply because of the interaction between them and cables. FADs have damaged cables in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, as well as the waters of Indonesia and the Philippines, among other locations. They are a risk to towed marine survey gear and to safe vessel navigation. Cables may be abraded against FAD mooring lines during deployment and may be damaged by the placement and movement of FAD anchors or clump weights. These risks can exist at the time of first installation and yet again at the time of any maintenance and re-deployment operations. When the broader risk beyond just the damage of a single submarine cable has to do with the uptime of an overall global network, the pressure to pay attention to the individual risks to the physical infrastructure increases. It is because of these traditional risks and increase in seabed users and other stakeholders that new and diverse routes, new landings, and new cables are being developed. And from a risk perspective, it would be reasonable to speculate that this will continue to occur irrespective of how much capacity a single cable carries. The ICPC has been at the forefront of addressing cable protection for sixty-two years. The organization has spent the better part of the last decade focusing on affiliate outreach with other organizations and stakeholders to broadly promote the awareness of cables. The ICPC’s annual Plenary, held in April or May of each year, is still a leading venue for the sharing of technical, regulatory and environmental information, knowledge, experiences, and best practices pertaining to cable protection at the planning, implementation, maintenance and decommissioning phases of the submarine cable lifecycle. The ICPC is actively engaged with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) over topics relating to accurate charting of submarine cables in deeper waters, the



United Nations pertaining to BBNJ, the ISA pertaining to deep seabed mining and the interaction with submarine cables and addressing changing or emerging risks to submarine cables through its Working Groups6. The future is unfolding before us and the ICPC, whose members represent 97% of submarine telecom cables, continues to pursue its vision of being the leading submarine cable authority on issues related to cable protection, reliability and security. Cable protection was a cornerstone objective of the organization when it formed in 1958 in the UK and if history is any lesson to us, there are bound to be more technological advances throughout the submarine cable supply chain for years to come. But where there is a need for capacity, there will be a need for cables. And where there are cables, there will be a need to protect this critical infrastructure through technical, regulatory, and advocacy efforts. After all, our remote, virtualized, and data driven world depends on it. STF RYAN WOPSCHALL is the General Manager of the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), the leading international submarine cable authority providing leadership and guidance on issues related to submarine cable security and reliability. He has spent the last 15 years in the telecommunications industry focusing on international submarine and terrestrial backhaul network design and implementation where he has worked on over 30 projects at various stages of their planning and implementation lifecycle. Ryan is also the Founder and Principal of Wopschall Consulting, LLC, where he works with a select number of clients each year, helping them develop their network and build their infrastructure. SIMON WEBSTER is Director, Submarine Networks EMEA for NEC, and represents his company in the ICPC. He started in NEC’s cable business in 1998, and heads NEC’s interests for submarine cable networks and ocean observation systems in the EMEA region. He is also a Steering Committee member of the UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network task force to advance cabled tsunami early warning systems in Asia. Simon has a degree in Physics from Oxford University, plus Master’s and Management qualifications from the University of London and Henley Management College respectively. NOTES 1 C. Elliott et al., “An Economic and Social Evaluation of the UK Subsea Cables Industry”, 2 Global Internet Map 2021, 3 STF Issue 117, March 2021: S. Makovejs and J. Hedgpeth, “Fiber Technology for Subsea Networks” 4. M. Clare, “Cable Protection and the Environment, Issue No. 2, March 2021”, https://www. 5. International Seabed Authority, Deep Data WebMap: 6. ICPC Achievements,


THE LAST (ACTIVE) PERSON STANDING The Forgotten Art of Active Supervisory and Its Relevance to SDM


Supervisory is a fundamental necessity for long haul amplified submarine links. Its primary application is for fault location in the event of a failure in the system, where it is imperative to both identify the location of the fault and give some indication of its nature. Since optically amplified links were introduced there have been two basic types of supervisory, passive and active. Passive supervisory is akin to an optical version of sonar. A “ping” is sent along the system and at each repeater a

small portion of the signal is carried back to the source via a high loss loopback optical path between the forwards and backwards directions. Through this and some clever analysis it is possible to deduce both the repeater position and an estimation of the attenuation. This is often adequate for fault finding, but the information is limited, especially when compared to active supervisory.


Feedback can be provided from most devices in today’s MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE Figure 1 High loss feedback schematic

repeaters. Pumps have multiple feedback features. In addition, anything that senses a physical phenomenon can be inserted into a repeater and in addition to the telemetry from the pumps we can record the following data: pressure, humidity, temperature and angular momentum from internal accelerometers. The key is to find a method for carrying this information back to land where it can be processed and interpolated. Xtera, for example, uses a Sub Carrier Modulation methodology wherein the information is impressed on the traffic signal at a much lower frequency, typically in the MHz range. In doing so sufficient telemetry information is fed back to the shore with minimal impact on the traffic load.

In theory any sensor can be put in a repeater housing and used to feed data back to dry land, but the ability to do so can be tempered by space and power considerations. It is also important to avoid anything that can be construed to impact the main function of the repeater. Xtera have chosen to measure the following additional aspects and we briefly discuss their relevance to the primary goal below.




Clearly the primary piece of information is the health of the amplifier itself. Amplifier degradation could impact an entire fibre pair, with the associated financial consequences such as loss of revenue, marine repair, etc. So, in addition to building in redundancy, immensely reliable optical pumps are chosen for submarine systems. Xtera’s 980nm pumps have a FIT rate of ~5 FIT’s and their 14XXnm pumps are even more reliable at circa 1FIT for example. The pumps are packaged and their drive circuitry enables direct access to a multiplicity of valuable data, temperatures, current, voltage and power. In addition, at the amplifier level active supervisory can determine output power, gain and tilt.


Xtera inserted accelerometers into the repeater housing to record motion during the early qualification activities (terrestrial testing and sea trials) and fully intended to remove them for the subsequent production units. However, during the sea trials two things became apparent. Firstly, we could view and record how the repeater was positioned on the seabed, and any suspensions that may occur. Secondly, and perhaps of greater value in today’s security conscious world, we could detect any external tampering. The figure below shows that the repeater could detect movement in the cable a full two hours before it was lifted from the sea floor. Which is especially impressive considering these were still only in-production units.


It is general practice to control the environment in the

Figure 2 Image of multiple Xtera subsea amplifiers



repeater from day one to ensure that the best conditions are maintained for the components within. This is achieved by inserting both hydrogen and water getters, these act partly in tandem. We cannot realistically measure hydrogen, but it is relatively easy to measure moisture. We recently looked at a system that had been in service five years and the relative humidity within the repeaters had not increased, which demonstrates that the conditions are being well maintained.


Thermal management was of particular interest at the design stage, and Titanium (used for the housing) was a new material for many of the team, who had extensive knowledge of steel - some 40 years in my case! It has inferior thermal conductivity to steel but superior specific strength. In addition to the temperature feedback from the pumps – the main source of heat – we located other temperature sensors elsewhere in the repeater to check heat flows generally. Since the qualification exercises and initial deployments we have concluded that Titanium is an excellent material and that probably we have a few too many temperature sensors in our product!

sitting in deep water at 2.5 degrees C, with components sitting in low moisture (see above) and no hydrogen. Like other suppliers we have erred to the very pessimistic. However, through supervisory we get had access to the Zener Voltage changes recorded since our earlier systems were installed and are still seeing no measurable ageing. The question that needs to be addressed is “How pessimistic”? If majorly so, we are throwing away power that could be used for more channels or not used at all. It is likely that the ageing will have an exponential (hockey ship) profile eventually. But if this kicks in after 25 years so what? This vital information will allow us to roll out more eco-friendly products in future.


This is an interesting point, again, as we considered removing this measurement method after completing the qualification work, but we found it very useful for guaranteeing that repeaters have been correctly sealed. How is this done you may ask? There is Figure 3 Repeater axial acceleration over time recorded during sea trial recovery operation a slight, but measurable increase in pressure as the final bulkhead is pushed into place, and if this persists, we can conclusively say that repeater is leak free WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE TO SPATIAL DIVISION MULTIPLEXING? from both a hydrostatic and gaseous perspective. We believe The set-up time for each fibre pair in a digital line secthis is a unique feature of Xtera’s repeaters. tion is essentially the same. Therefore, the overall time for setting up a new cable will be linear, scaling with the number of fibre pairs. This hasn’t been a big deal in systems to ZENER POWER date which contain a few fibre pairs, but now as cables grow It is standard practice to use Zener Diodes or similar beyond 16 fibre pairs a radical solution may be needed. We solutions to compensate for ageing of electronic compohave shown, firstly with Direct Detection WDM systems, nents in repeaters. The initial projections of component and particularly now with Coherent Technologies, that ageing are based on analysis of the extensive amount of being able to set up a system in situ is much easier when data that is now available for the components within a reaided by intimate knowledge of each repeater. Setting up all peater. These tend to be on the pessimistic side as the data, the parameters in the factory, prior to marine operations is though comprehensive, has been derived from aggressive not ideal as the conditions are not reflective of an installed tests in demanding environments. Here we have a repeater MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE system. In fact, recently, despite having carried out a marine survey, we were a little surprised by the sea bottom temperature of one repeater during the marine installation works. Furthermore, it is not easy to re-optimise the system after a marine repair without intimate knowledge of the repeaters performance after the repair. What could the future hold for this technology? In the days of direct detection techniques system engineers could use a combination of experience and expertise to set up a WDM system. Not so with Coherent, which is considerably more complex to set up. There is access to a few “buttons” but mostly the transponders self-optimise to the line. But this then makes it attractive to setting up the line automatically in conjunction with an actively supervised system. In a paper presented at SubOptic 20191 Xtera showed how AI technology, in this case a relatively simple neural network using machine learning, could optimise amplifier settings better than an experienced engineer, and suggested that a somewhat more complex scheme could be applied to a line of amplifiers. The attraction of this type of scheme is that after a number of repairs for example, it’s likely that the entire system gain will be tilted due to changes in input levels and adjusting for such changes is far from simple. However, with the information that can be obtained from active supervisory, the neural network can make the changes, and do so more rapidly and accurately than would be possible with a manual approach – particularly one which has limited data regarding optical levels along the line. So, SDM equals more fibres and more fibres equals more time to set up a system. AI has a role to resolve this in the future and requires active supervisory functionality to achieve this goal.


There are few active components in a modern repeater from a functional point of view. These are highly reliable, as evidenced by the reliability of pumps. This translates into very few repeaters failing over recent years after a spate



during the early years of optical amplification. With SDM systems, the main concerns are probably soft failures, tilt reducing bandwidth due to external factors, lack of design bandwidth due to inadequate system testing on installation. Active supervisory could play a useful role in both identifying and eliminating these giving a significant and on-going value-add, at a minimal up-front cost. STF STUART BARNES is Chairman of Xtera. After graduating from Queen Mary College, London University with BSc (Hons) and PhD in Engineering he joined Standard Telecommunications Ltd, the Research Subsidiary of STC. After 7 years in Research, including 3 years supporting development of STC Submarine Systems first Optical Repeater, he then was involved in turnaround activities in the terrestrial fibre and cable divisions (market share increased from 5% to 50%). Then, in STC Submarine Systems, he went on to become Technical Director in 1995, where he was responsible for the development of STC’s second optical repeater. After the acquisition of the Submarine Group by Alcatel he moved to Paris to head up Alcatel’s Optical Recherche Group. In 1999 he Founded Ilotron (UK), after a short period with Atlas Venture as an ER he co-founded Azea Networks in 2001, who merged with Xtera Communications Inc. in 2007. In 2017 he co-led the buyout of Xtera Inc. from Chapter 11 and is currently Chairman. He is Visiting Professor at Southampton University and an Adviser to The School of Photonics, Aston University. References Artificial Intelligence or Real Engineer. Maria Ionescu (Xtera), Tony Frisch (Xtera), Eric Sillekens (UCL), Polina Bayvel (UCL). Suboptic, Dubai 2019


play for offshore wind. Climate Change

While the telecom industry has been operating for quite some time and has made significant advances in our knowledge of benthic marine environments, climate change is one issue that we will have to face in conjunction with all offshore maritime industries and the wider world. The push for projects concerning environmental monitoring and communications is spreading throughout the industry, with a current focus on issues relating to marine megafauna and fisheries targets. Initiatives such as SMART cables and similar monitoring systems in offshore wind will go a long way towards narrowing existing knowledge gaps and ensuring that we have lengthy and reliable data records as our seas undergo this period of immense change. As mentioned previously, interdisciplinary initiatives such as ROSA will be integral in encouraging data sharing and data tracking as some common fisheries and conservation target species exhibit spatial and temporal distribution shifts. By working together, industry and local stakeholders can broaden our collective knowledge of how the oceans around us will be impacted by climate change related phenomena. As such, we can hope to mitigate issues to the best of our abilities and focus on nurturing sustainable growth of both telecom and offshore wind industries, keeping the world connected and providing reliable sources of clean, renewable wind energy. Similarly, collective knowledge on natural system faults, both for subsea cables and offshore wind infrastructure, will contribute to our understanding of how best to shift future engineering and operation innovations to cope with an increase in strength and frequency of inclement weather events and other climatic factors. Summary

those of public perceptions, will help to pave the way for community buy-in and long term success of these installations. In the past century and a half, humans have come to understand a significant amount about our oceans and how they function. Through the course of hundreds of subsea cable installations, the telecom industry has been at the forefront of uncovering benthic knowledge. Our understanding of seafloor hydrology, shifting sediments, ecological interactions, and even earthquakes and tsunamis has greatly increased. By taking what we have learned and applying it to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, we can best position ourselves to reap the rewards of an extensive renewables network while mitigating social, environmental, and ecological impacts. We have extensive local fisheries and communities networks, professional guard vessels and crews, broad knowledge of the marine environmental and applicable requirements and legislation, and, above all, we have a vision for long-term, sustainable success in harnessing our renewable natural resources for clean energy. To our partners in the offshore wind industry— we are ready and willing to help you reach your goals. Emma Martin is the Marine Systems Associate at Seagard. She has her BA in Biology from Boston University, USA and her MSc in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has performed marine field work around the world and looks forward to continuing to support maritime infrastructure developments.


Throughout both industries, a common theme is the importance of early and continued stakeholder engagement. “We stand by the idea that stakeholder engagement and outreach with other maritime users and operators is incredibly important,” Ryan Wopschall, ICPC GM states, “Raising awareness of subsea cables within the offshore renewable energy sector and encouraging developers and stakeholders to contact us in regard to new and ongoing projects will further facilitate safe and efficient use of marine resources and long-term protection of seabed infrastructure.” All marine users must be considered throughout project development, and these considerations, alongside







This article elaborates on the concept of EU Data-Gateways Platform and how it relates to three main vectors: international connectivity (submarine cables), data centres and interconnection. The article details in particular the EU Atlantic Data-Gateway Platform, in which Portugal is included. The article also elaborates the Portuguese added value and contributions to the creation of the EU Atlantic Data-Gateways Platforms.


The concept of an EU Data-Gateway Platform comprises three basic key vectors: International connectivity (submarine cables); data storage; interconnection. The combination of these vectors has a growing impact on the competitiveness of a country or a region. International connectivity relates directly to international accesses. The quality, affordability and diversity of international accesses are likely to increase a country or a region’s independence and relevance in terms of traffic interconnection. In addition, international accesses benefit from economies of scale, meaning that the more international accesses



a country/region has the more attractive it becomes for new investments on international accesses. In this context, submarine cables play a critical role given that around 97% of all intercontinental data is transferred through those cables. Bearing this in mind, one may establish an analogy between a common sea ports for Goods and Cable Landing Station (CLS) for Data. While the former allows to receive/send, store and distribute goods, the latter performs similar functions for Data. The second element is the need to store larger amounts of Data. Literature1 and benchmarks demonstrate the synergies arising from installation of Data Centres near CLSs. This is proving to be a tendency that reduces transmission costs and improves QoS. In fact, such setting reduces the distance between content and consumers, making the use of the international transmission systems more rational. Power and cooling costs are another key factor for Data Centre location. A sustainability factor should also be considered as there is a trend to power these infrastructures with clean energy sources. Finally, Interconnection. The capacity to interconnect several players in a diversified ecosystem is another key 1 “Subsea cables and interconnection hubs”, DE-CIX

Figure 1 – Performance of a Data-Gateway Platform

element of an EU Data-Gateway Platforms. Interconnection refers to: • the interconnection of several submarine cables (in the same CLS or not), • the provision of non-discriminatory and open access to submarine cables by different players (operators, OTTs, etc.), • the provision of direct and easy interconnection to Data Centres, • the installation of IXPs or Points of Presence (PoPs), near CLSs and Data Centres. In practice, interconnection extends the Telehouse concept in order to include CLSs, Data Centres and interconnection between all under one’s roof. The combination of these elements gives rise to the so-called EU Data-Gateway Platform. If we are allowed some boldness, we may say that the performance of a Data-Gateway Platform can be illustrated by the following equation:

a truly digital single market, reinforce its ability to define its own rules, to make autonomous technological choices, and to develop and deploy strategic digital capacities and infrastructure (...). At the international level, the EU will leverage its tools and regulatory powers to help shape global rules and standards. The EU will remain open to all companies complying with European rules and standards. Digital development must safeguard our values, fundamental rights and security, and be socially balanced.” In addition, under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of Europe a Ministerial Declaration2 on “European Data Gateways as a key element of the EU’s Digital Decade” in which it is recognised that “Europe’s digital sovereignty and global competitiveness depend on strong and secure internal and external connectivity. Leveraging both dimensions is a precondition for the EU to become “the most attractive, most secure and most dynamic data-agile economy in the world”. The Declaration is sustained on the idea that the EU has an

2 The EU Member State signatories include: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Iceland and Norway also signed the declaration.


The European Council of October 2, 2020 concluded that: “To be digitally sovereign, the EU must build Figure 2 – EU Atlantic Data Gateway Platforms

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE FEATURE opportunity to become a world-class data hub. Finally, the declaration identifies four EU Data-Gateway Platforms: Atlantic, Mediterranean, North Sea & Arctic and Baltic-to-Black Sea. These four EU Data Gateways Platforms should interconnect with each other and they should complement each other. The EU Atlantic Data Gateway Platform has the opportunity to become an incoming/ outgoing door for data, to and from the European Union to other Continents in particular North and South America and Africa.


In 1870 an international submarine cable landed in Portugal for the first time which consolidated its geostrategic position. Such position is unique given its diversity. It provides easy access of the European Union to North and South America, to Western Africa and to the Mediterranean and through this, the Middle East and Asia. Due to the high concentration of submarine cables between EU and Far East crossing Suez channel, almost 100% of that interconnection is supported by submarine cables crossing Suez Channel, Cape route should be considered as an alternative to avoid that uncommon dependence of EU on that Suez/Red Sea route. Nowadays, there is no other country in the world connected via direct submarine cables to all Continents! In fact, Portugal was until the end of 2020 the only country in the world that had direct submarine cables linked to all Continents (except Antarctica). The geographic location allows Portugal to easily interconnect cables from South, North and West. The Autonomous Regions also bring strategical advantages: Azores has a strategic position given its location of midway between New York and Brussels; while Madeira location is a plus in the connectivity to the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, shoreline in Mainland Portugal, Azores and Madeira have abrupt slopes reaching deep sea depths in a range of few miles. In fact, 95% of the continental shelf is deep sea, and for that reason there is no need to use strong and expensive armored cables.

Figure 3 - Existing Submarine Cables in Portugal

In September 2020 the Portuguese Government has taken the decision to replace the existing CAM Ring (designation of the submarine cable networks connecting Mainland Portugal – Azores – Madeira). The new CAM Ring will have a perimeter of about 3.700 kms and will provide state of the art, future proof and affordable communications between the Continent and Autonomous Regions fostering territorial cohesion and promoting sustainable growth. Closely associated with submarine cables is the development of data storage and interconnection capacity. On the last April 23, it was announced a joint investment of up to $4.2 billion by 2025 in a large-scale Data Centre campus in Portugal to tap demand from global tech firms. This will complement the offer of data storage in Lisbon and other locations in Portugal. The campus in the city of Sines, 150 km (90 miles) South of Lisbon, will occupy 60 ha (150


A number of new systems landing in Portugal have been recently announced:



Figure 4 - New submarine cables landing in Portugal

ac) and will include until 2025 up to five buildings with a CONCLUSION useful capacity to supply up to 450 Megawatts of cheap and It is believed that the features and innovative functionclean energy to the servers. The 1st building is expected to alities of the new CAM Ring can serve as an example and be ready for service during 2023. inspire other systems landing in Portugal, representing this The provision of ina major breakthrough novative services offered for the connectivity to submarine cables is of Europe, contriba key component of the uting decisively for Portuguese strategy for the success of the EU international connectivAtlantic Data-Gateity. Submarine Cables way Platforms. are becoming increasThe Portuguese ingly critical in terms of EEZ will be increaselectronic communicaingly used by Subtions infrastructure. marine Cables and In particular, Portugal that brings additional intends to: responsibilities for the • Facilitate the licountry and for the Figure 5 – Portuguese EEZ on the extended Continental Shelf Blue Economy. It is censing process for submarine cables foreseen that in near crossing its Exclusive future around 15 to Economic Zone (EEZ) by introducing a one stop shop 20% of total international Submarine Cables in the world Portal through which the industry and public entities can will cross Portuguese EEZ. Portugal will be prepared to easily interact; assume his responsibilities’. • Introduce surveillance and protection services of submaPortugal has a history of landing submarine cables for rine cables in the Portuguese EEZ; over 150 years which is consistent with our tradition that • Encourage self-restoration plans with mutual assistance began on the XV century with Maritime Discoveries. among systems in the region, with periodic trial exercises In the early days telegraph cables served Empires, then for submarine cables landing in Portugal, coaxial cables served Nations, and now digital cables serve • Create a R&D cluster for the utilization of telecom and energy People. Portugal has been present since the very beginning Submarine Cables for environmental and seismic detection. of submarine cables and we will continue to do so. STF • Facilitate cable ships activities (installation and repair); MANUEL DA COSTA CABRAL is a Senior Consultant for Interna• Promote the use of green energy to feed Submarine Cational Connectivity and Submarine Cables in the General bles, Interconnection Hubs and Data Centres. Direction of Information and Innovation of ANACOM. He was a Portuguese Representative to the International • Support the transmission of the so-called scientific traffic Telecommunication Union (ITU) and to the European through submarine cables. Conference of Postal and Telecommunications AdministraIn addition, the above referred new CAM Ring will be a SMART cable. It is planned that this new system will be equipped with SMART repeaters (with sensors) along the entire length of the optical submarine cables. SMART cables will enable both telecommunication and sensing functionalities for ocean and climate monitoring (including the temperature, pressure, vibration, accelerometer, salinity, etc.) as well as will enable disaster warning (early warnings and alerts for tsunamis and tentatively for earthquakes). These early warnings will serve not only the Portuguese population, but also if applicable, neighboring countries such as Spain and Morocco.

tions (CEPT). Manuel was the Chair of COM-ITU (Committee for ITU Policy) & CEPT Co-President. He was also a Policy Officer at the European Commission (DG Information Society and Media). Manuel holds a business degree from Católica-Lisbon Business School and a Post-Graduation in Communication and Multimedia Management. JOSE SOUSA BARROS holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications from IST Lisbon in 1983. He performed International Network Planning and Provisioning managing functions at CPR Marconi during 1984-2002 and at Portugal Telecom during 2002-2003 he was International Network Administration Manager. He served as Director of External Relations Department of ANACOM during 2003-2020 and is currently Senior Consultant for International Connectivity and Submarine Cables in the General Direction of Information and Innovation of ANACOM.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118



Reserve y today fo


your spot or 2022.



The issue of protecting fiber cables has turned to be of international concern as more and more cables continue to get damaged. There have been series of fiber cable cuts in the submarine and underground transmission systems. Submarine cables are cables laid on the seabed across oceans and continents carrying huge capacity of call traffic and data services such as photos, videos, etc. Underground transmissions connect cable landing station switching centres to the various backbone and last-mile cell sites. The impact of fiber cable cuts businesses, organization, military intelligence gathering, scientific research and internet connectivity is enormous. There are two main types of submarine cables: communications cables used to transmit data communications and power cables used to transmit electrical power. Submarine pipelines are used to transport oil and gas resources. According to Davenport (2018), all these cables are designed for underwater use and are laid on or buried under the seabed. Submarine communications cables, power cables, and pipelines are of different sizes, consist of different material, serve different functions, and have varying degrees of



importance to the international community. The underground cable, which has been deployed in many nations to provide high-speed internet connectivity to the rural and urban settler, business operations for government and private firms has not been spared in the cable cuts threats and dangers. The indiscriminate underground fiber cable cuts are unprecedented, and it is so alarming in predominantly low-income countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Haiti, among many other countries. According to Nyarko-Boateng et al. (2020), this situation results from poor underground cable laying practice and post cable deployment management. There are no proper measures to check the safety of the cables and ensure a sustainable cable protection regime for the underground fiber cable infrastructure.


There are approximately 426 submarine cables in service around the world. The total number of cables is constantly changing as new cables enter service and older cables are decommissioned. There is an uncountable number of underground fiber cable infrastructure for the long-haul and

short-distance transmission across the globe. FTTx technology for fiber broadband services is on the rise in both advanced and low-income countries. Individual nations are solely responsible for the underground cable infrastructure, so nations have to come to the realization that underground fiber cables and Telecommunications infrastructure are critical national assets and it requires well structure protective measures but few nations has taken the initiative. The submarine cable and the underground cables are essential infrastructures that require some level of protective measures to ensure their safety. Since 1945, several submarine cables have suffered from damages and various degrees of physical injuries due to natural and artificial occurrences as shown in Table 1. Along the coast of Africa, Asia, Europe and America, several activities and natural occurrences cause cables damages (Yang, 2021). Baynes (2018) reported that the cut of the African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable affected the internet service of Mauritania and nine other West African nations. The ACE cable, which is about 17,000 km from France to South Africa, provide an internet connection to 22 countries, mostly on Africa’s west coast.

Entity Machines

Figure 1: Splicing process of fiber cable.

On 9th January 2020, the WACS-3 cable suffered a severe burnt under the sea along Angola. This cable cut brought outage of internet connectivity to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and the Gambia. Ghana and Nigeria also experienced significant disruption, while Benin,

Table 1: Cause of Submarine and Underground Fiber Cable cut Activity Damage caused i. ii.

Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) & Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) Cable injuries & Cuts Bulldozers, Caterpillars, Tractors & Excavators

i. Human

Natural Animals

Fishing trawlers, poor cable insulations materials, anchors ii. Farming, private developers, road construction, railways construction, digging water pipelines and underground electricity cable laying, etc. Earthquake, sea current i. i.

Sharks and Whale Rodents

Cable cut, cable injuries

Cable break Cable bite

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE The present measures and international provisions against submarine operations against the destruction of cables have not been clearly established. The actions of seabed users mostly cause serious injuries to the submarine cables, but since there are no international laws that forbid them from such activity, cables continue to suffer from the actions of the seabed users (Scanlon, 2017). A provision of international law must be enacted to declare subsea cables as critical infrastructure. An international organization like the UN Division on Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) closely work together to ensure that measures put in place protect the submarine cables. However, coastal states must be given maximum powers Figure 2: An exposed fiber cable laying along the roadside

Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and the Ivory Coast all saw less serious problems. A picture of underground fiber cable repair has been shown in figure 1, 2 and 3.


The measure adopted in the past was the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is an international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982. The UNCLOS has not been effective in tackling the recent dangers that subsea cable faces. The UNCLOS legal regime governing submarine cables has been neglected because no international institution ensures the sympathetic provisions were implemented. The laws may be old and may require urgent modifications, or entire laws governing the submarine transmission infrastructure must be enacted to deal with the current trend of attacks and threats. According to Davenport (2018), the international legally binding instrument (ILBI) has been proposed, and it is being negotiated in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 72/249 to improve some provisions in UNCLOS.


Critical infrastructures are essential security facilities of every nation.



Figure 3: Students of UENR Computer Science & Informatics Department on a site visit to observe the fault tracing and splicing process.

to exercise their sovereignty over their territorial sea where cable get tempered to prosecute and sanction the offenders of the cable cuts. In the future, artificial intelligence application and machine learning modelling can help in the real-time monitoring of the cables laid in the deep oceans. The early detection of cable cut (Nyarko‐Boateng, Adekoya, & Weyori, 2021) is essential for quick repair and for the estimation of the cost of cable repairs (Nyarko-Boateng, Adekoya, & Weyori, 2020).


This article has provided some insight into the weakness in the international laws, which has refused to be updated or revised to meet the current trend of submarine cable post-deployment safety. The underground cable cut is severe in Africa due to poor cable laying practice and unattended exposed cable, and bad post-installation management. This is not so with submarine cable, where the cable is mainly placed under the seabed, but ship anchors and other seabed users activities cause the submarine cable cuts. When the appropriate protective measures are taken at the international and national level, and these cables are declared critical infrastructure, the level of destruction to them will be reduced significantly. STF OWUSU NYARKO-BOATENG PHD Computer Science candidate and a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science and Informatics, the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana. He holds HND Electrical & Electronics Engineering, BSc Computer Science, EC-Council Certified Information Security Specialist, PGDE, and MSc Information Technology. Owusu Nyarko-Boateng has previously worked with MTN Ghana and Huawei Technologies (SA) for over ten (10) years. He has in-depth experience in telecommunications transmission systems, including fiber optics cable deployment for long-haul and short distance (FTTx), 2G BTS, WCDMA (3G), and 4G (LTE) plants installations and configurations, including Huawei Optix8800 OSN. As an academic and a researcher, Owusu Nyarko-Boateng has developed a passion in the following research areas: machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer networks and data communications, network security, fiber optics technologies, modelling transmission systems, 5G & 6G Technologies, Expert Systems, computational intelligence for data communications. PROF ADEKOYA FELIX ADEBAYO holds B. Sc. (1994), M. Sc. (2002), and Ph. D. (2010) in Computer Science, an MBA in Accounting & Finance (1998), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Teacher Education (2004). He has put in about twenty-five (25) years of experience as a lecturer, researcher and administrator at the higher educational institution levels in Nigeria and Ghana. A. F. Adekoya is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and currently serves as the Dean, School of Sciences, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Ghana. His research interests include artificial intelligence, business & knowledge engineering, intelligent information systems, and social and sustainable computing.

DR. BENJAMIN ASUBAM WEYORI received his Ph. D. and M. Phil. in Computer Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, in 2016 and 2011, respectively. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, Ghana, in 2006. He is currently a Senior Lecturer and the Acting Head of the Department of Computer Science and Informatics, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Ghana. His main research interest includes artificial intelligence, computer visions (image processing), machine learning and web engineering. ISAAC KOFI NTI holds HND in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Sunyani Technical University, B. Sc. in Computer Science from Catholic University College, M. Sc. in Information Technology from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Mr Nti is a Lecturer at the Department of Computer and informatics, University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) Sunyani, Ghana. His research interests include artificial intelligence, energy system modelling, intelligent information systems and social and sustainable computing, business analytics and data privacy and security. ENING PHILIP holds BSc Computer Science, and he is currently enrolled as an MPhil Computer Science student at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani-Ghana. He also works with MTN-Gh as a Transmissions engineer.

References. Chris Baynes (2018). Ten countries affected by outages after submarine cable system is damaged Davenport, T. (2018). The High Seas Freedom to Lay Submarine Cables and the Protection of the Marine Environment: Challenges in High Seas Governance. AJIL Unbound, 112, 139-143. Nyarko-Boateng, O., Xedagbui, F. E. B., Adekoya, A. F., & Weyori, B. A. (2020). Fiber optic deployment challenges and their management in a developing country: A tutorial and case study in Ghana. Engineering Reports, 2(2), e12121. Nyarko-Boateng, O., Adekoya, A. F., & Weyori, B. A. (2021). Predicting the actual location of faults in underground optical networks using linear regression. Engineering Reports, 3(3), eng212304. Scanlon, Z. (2017). Addressing the Pitfalls of Exclusive Flag State Jurisdiction: Improving the Legal Regime for the Protection of Submarine Cables. J. Mar. L. & Com., 48,3; p295. Lee, Y., Kim, S., Yu, Y., & Yun, G. (2018). A Study on the Selection of Target Ship for the Protection of Submarine Power Cable. Journal of the Korean Society of Marine Environment and Safety, 24(6), 662–669. Yang, W. (2021). Protecting Submarine Cables From Physical Damage Under Investment Law. Ocean Development & International Law, 1-21. Nyarko-Boateng, O., Adekoya, A. F., & Weyori, B. A. (2020). Using machine learning techniques to predict the cost of repairing hard failures in underground fiber optics networks. Journal of Big Data, 7(1), 1-16.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


Celebrating 20 years of expert client representation and consulting

WFN Strategies is an industry-leading consultancy specializing in the planning, procurement, and implementation of submarine cable systems

We possess an ISO 9001: 2015 accredited management system and ISO 27001:2013 InfoSec program for the implementation of submarine fiber cable systems for commercial, governmental and offshore energy companies throughout the world. We have served the industry for 20 years and received the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 certified designer and for Exports. President’s “E” Award implementer of submarine fiber cable systems for commercial, governmental and oil & gas companies.


Source: TeleGeography




or a majority of the world, digitization plays a huge part in our daily lives by keeping people and devices seamlessly connected. Surprisingly, digital engagement in certain regions of the world is slow in developing ‘use cases’ as many obstacles hinder the development of new infrastructure and slows their progression towards a digital economy. Advancing developments to close gaps and enhance the infrastructure is warranted, but faces real limitations and restrictions, such as what exists between Asia and Europe, illustrated above as The Missing Link. As we progress forward and focus our attention on expanding telecommunications across the world and the evolving services which need more reliability and cost efficiency, more demand is produced, wanting faster progress that at some point only facilitated by 5G access and Cloud Computing (CC) platforms. Rapid growth of CC data centers is expanding at a phenomenal rate1 and countries that lead in the global race of 5G and CC will gain an edge in rolling out future services with advancing technologies, government awareness, high-value investors, and content providers willing to ensure capital availability for new infrastructure.



As mentioned in the Latin American Economic Outlook (LEO)1, 5G is expected to radically transform technologies’ role in society and firms are expected to enable a new era of the IoE- Internet of Everything via massive connection, faster transmission speeds, lower latency, and lower power. New systems aim to provide 20 Gbps download speed, 10 Gbps upload speed and 1 ms latency, i.e., 200 times faster download speed, 100 times faster upload speed and onetenth the latency compared with existing systems (OECD, 2019f ). 5G is expected to lead to new ‘use cases’, such as smart cities and smart agriculture, more efficient logistics, transformed health and education services, and renewed security agencies. It is also expected to revolutionize the industrial sector and give rise to new business models through the integration of technologies such as AI, virtual and augmented reality. This digital information revolution is driven by the advancements in technology, specifically Cloud and Edge Computing, to meet the on-demand availability of computer 1 The LEO is a joint annual publication produced by the OECD Development Centre, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the European Union (EU).

system resources, data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The CC data centers currently deployed are shown below. There is a clear gap or low-density penetration of CC data centers in the circled area. This comes as no surprise since low latency and resiliency of the connectivity goes hand-in-hand with data center deployments. CC requirements demand high-reliability, low latency links, and to solve the “missing link” for the region highlighted in the graphic, systems will have to satisfy these requirements and higher capacities (400G to 1000G services) at a substantially lower cost per bit- a key measure of value for CC infrastructure.


As seen above, significant roll-out of CC is seen but less in the region circled in red. Many factors have been the cause of this slow roll-out in this area and have been related to uncertainty in the stability of the region and conflicts, however, of equal importance is the inter-region cooperation, country regulatory restrictions and geopolitics. What we are seeing today is a greatly improved inter-region relationship. It is now time for the telecommunications infrastructure to “catch up”. It is a cliché that the internet and communications rely on a global network of submarine cables. Network development followed the wave of traffic demand connecting major market centers with reliable connections utilizing existing landing facilities to facilitate the evolving demands of voice and the beginning of data transport. Early demand was predominantly narrowband voice which evolved to IP based services and applications, which quickly drove higher broadband video-based content. Now, networks must evolve to support demand driven by an ever-increasing number of interconnected devices and services. This new demand requires a network which provides routing diversity, lower latency and the highest reliability, aspects that require, among other things, filling in the gaps of the current network and moving away from congested corridors and existing cable landings. Addressing the new requirements of traffic transport will require infrastructure needing large capital

resources to build hybrid links (combining submarine and terrestrial) supported by innovative business models with detailed design plans. These plans must address the inherent risks of geopolitical, regulatory, economic, financial, and operational issues encountered in these greenfield locations. In order to be successful, a project must develop a sound risk mitigation program that includes 3rd party assurances for the delivery of services, improving capital efficiency by aligning customer billings and vendor payments, along with other improvements. The grab for CC market share is insatiable and first mover advantage for resilient low latency data transport is well understood. Hyperscalers have been willing to provide capital in areas that are key to high value growth – network connectivity and route diversity. Though historically network infrastructure is a low return-on-investment business with a different risk profile, it supports high-value business segments which they offer.


Part of the challenge to fill in the ‘missing link’ is the requirement for an integrated hybrid network, made up of both subsea and terrestrial segments. Achieving a successful deployment means issues related to slow and traditional cumbersome government approvals, engaging public policy to address various matters (interconnections, ROW - Right of Ways), involvement with regulators to describe the benefits and alignment of the new business models to provide higher reliability, and demonstrating inter-operability between legacy and new systems, and creating an environment by which they will benefit from more competitive services. Once the inter-regional connectivity is improved, high-value enterprises can start taking advantage of moving from private computing to hybrid and public clouds, as they MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE Source: TeleGeography

are doing in other regions. Such confidence in new infrastructure will bring new investments to the region. Along with the basic backbone infrastructure there is also a need for improved On-ramp locations to gain more reliable access to the CC sites. The map below identifies the same area having a low density of Onramp locations, along with diversity, making it difficult for large enterprises to exploit these new services.


Ensuring broader coverage of digital services with higher reliability, increased diversity, at lower costs enables companies to deploy more advanced technologies, e.g., 5G, CC, AI, virtual and augmented realities. These new business models and the companies that bring in these more competitive services and products, will be able to deliver improved value-add services, and changing the game. With the ‘missing link’ bridged, broader coverage throughout the region will be added assisting the tertiary emerging markets. They need to double their Digitization Index score, meaning for their poorest citizens over the next 10 years, the result would be a global $4.4 trillion gain in nominal GDP, an extra $930 billion in the cumulative household income for the poorest, and 64 million new jobs for today’s socially and economically most marginal groups. This would enable 580 million people to climb above the poverty line. If policymakers want to capture these rich returns, then they need to figure out how they can assist the ICT indus-

try build their digital markets — the markets where the bulk of the world’s information and goods will be bought and sold in the upcoming decade of digitization. STF GREG VARISCO is CEO of Cinturion, building the Trans Europe Asia System- TEAS from Europe to India. He has provided professional services to the telecom and energy industries for more than 30 years. His experienced in developing and commercializing advanced subsea and fiber optic networks through the design, development, implementation, and operational phases. He has led the development of several international business initiatives in various companies (startups, turnarounds, public, private and Fortune 100 organizations). Prior, he was occupied as the CEO for a new transatlantic network. DAVID CROWLEY is a highly experienced executive in the worldwide network industry. He brings over 30 years of experience with unique and valuable perspectives regarding network design, architecture, capacity management, traffic engineering, deployment, scheduling, and support for some of the world’s largest network infrastructures. He has managed the planning and deployment of complex subsea and terrestrial network projects. Mr. Crowley has served executive roles with several companies across the industry, most recently as Chief Technical Advisor to Microsoft and serves on the Board of several companies.

On ramp locations: Source: TeleGeography





Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in a Time of Convergence BY SEAN BERGIN AND CHRIS DE JOSSELIN


early 10% of the world’s population live in SouthEast Asia. It’s an interesting, yet largely understood fragmented market, with significant potential upside given the developing nature of the economies within each country that within the region. Looking at recent pictograms of global cloud & data centre regions and their evolution, it’s pretty glaring that Singapore is the epicentre of all things cloud related in South East Asia which creates challenges, risks and as a consequence, opportunities. One of the ‘building blocks’ of this cloud era we live in is of course, connectivity. Let’s take a quick look at the SE Asia and broader Asian connectivity environment, with a focus on the subsea space. Firstly, pricing. It’s really fragmented in the context of intra-Asia transport at a ‘local’ level. For example, it is twice as expensive to buy a 100G circuit between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, than it is

between Hong Kong and Singapore. Same can be said for Indonesia to Singapore, which is more than three times more expensive than Hong Kong to Singapore. Yes, most of this can be put down to volumes, however the underlying cost to build the systems don’t vary that much on a per km basis. It’s all about open access and competition. Based on the above pricing rationale, it’s easy to see that countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have a long way to go when it comes to opening up their markets to genuine competition. Open access seems to be the driver behind markets that have done extremely well establishing themselves as a ‘hub’ such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The open access regime in Singapore is well established and competition flourishes, yet one of the other key elements that drives ‘hub status’ is cross connection charges. However, these still remain relatively high across SE Asia when compared to other regions of the world such MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE as Europe, with an average of around ~$140 per month per fibre pair, Vs Asia with an average closer to $210 per month, representing a 33% premium. So, in summary, open access at competitive prices coupled with compelling cross connect arrangements, tend to be the main ingredients in creating the environment for cloud providers to congregate and flourish. It’s time that South East Asia re-thinks it’s strategy for long term development. An alternate ‘secondary’ hub (or hubs) to Singapore needs to be developed in order to get ahead of the opportunity in front of them, given that certain ‘logical’ alternate hubs continue to resist true open access, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. As Singapore is arguably becoming the submarine cable ‘choke point’ in South East Asia (it only has 193km of environmentally sustainable coastline), coupled with carbon footprint challenges and on top of that, has to deal with geopolitical issues such as neighbouring country’s cabotage laws, right now is the time for an emerging player to step in and grasp this opportunity. Singapore has always managed to innovate, so it’s suspected that challenges will be overcome in time, yet this clearly creates an opportunity for a new player to enter the market and replicate what made Singapore a logical choice in the first place. Let’s consider why SE Asia needs a secondary hub to Singapore and lets also consider what flow-on benefits and impacts this has to the industry as a whole and not least of all, those that consume the products we as an industry provide. We have already discussed the challenges surrounding Singapore and also its reasons for becoming successful in becoming a converged internet ecosystem dynamo, so let’s consider potential contenders for the ‘crown’ of alternate hub. Firstly, deregulation plays a large part in that process, but let’s face it, if the key actors don’t truly embrace it,



nothing much changes and history tells us, not to expect anything different. So, to a large extent, it’s going to be driven by new entrants. Secondly, access to other markets. One of the key traits of a hub is connectivity. Not just subsea connectivity, but also terrestrial connectivity and simple geographic convenience. One potential country to that ticks these boxes, is Thailand. It’s already landing a substantial number of cables, has historically had a stable currency, is well positioned between Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, coupled with easy terrestrial access to Vietnam and China. It is also possible for subsea access into Thailand without having to deal with regional cabotage laws. With a regional population of bordering (or near bordering) countries totalling 670m, its hard to overlook the potential opportunities that this represents. One player who has recently entered the market, gaining permits to land cables and build edge data centres across South East Asia and associated colocation facilities is Verge Digital Infrastructure Group. They have come to the market well-funded and plan to use Thailand as a base to expand from, on a regional basis. It’s all about serving underserved markets, rather than a ‘me too’ strategy. Verge is seeing huge potential in the emerging markets of South-East Asia. Their strategy is focussed on identifying strategically positioned, second tier locations traditionally underserved by the global data centre players with the aim of offering a standardised solution across the region. These locations are characterised by proximity to dense populations outside the major cities with an ability to become hyper-connected with access to multiple international connectivity options including submarine cables; coupled with geographic separation for it to be a logical secondary landing site in

a country for customers needing a high level of diversity and resilience in their network. The locations where Verge is deploying its assets will benefit from computing and connectivity resources extending from the current connectivity hubs and moving closer to the edge supporting the growth of education, medical, research and banking ecosystems in these geographies. Unsurprisingly, with a network of open access, enterprise grade, edge facilities being deployed in regional cities across South-East Asia the cloud and content providers are also embracing this first step toward the edge in new markets, supporting their goal to get closer to the eyeballs of their consumers in a replicable way. The first major deployment for Verge is Project Saphan which will deliver coast to coast connectivity, open access cable landing stations and submarine cable shore-ends in the south of Thailand. Verge will also deploy its first Edge DC in Hat Yai, connecting it to the new cable infrastructure as part of Project Saphan. All terrestrial capacity from Singapore and Malaysia to Thailand currently transits Hat Yai today making it a natural interconnection point and location for a truly open access edge data centre. Furthermore, multiple new submarine cables are expected to land on both the east and west coasts of southern Thailand in the coming years, for the reasons previously mentioned. Having in place the necessary landing infrastructure that Verge will deploy will make landing, transiting, and interconnecting in the South of Thailand as easy option for new cable owners, content providers and carriers looking to capitalise on the growth in that region and wishing to avoid the traditional incumbents. Verge also intends to deploy at least 12 Edge data centres over the next 36 months spanning Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Whilst not every location will include the delivery of new submarine cable landing infrastructure, Verge recognises the importance of international connectivity in each of its facilities to support this first step toward the edge and the next phase in cloud computing and content delivery. A ‘cookie stamp’ approach to build out, will ensure that clients end up getting the same level of service in each location, irrespective of location. In short, South East Asia has suffered from lack of options in the submarine cable landing context with Singapore historically being that point of criticality. This, coupled with the limited options outside of Singapore when it comes to data storage and distribution represents a massive opportunity for organisations such as Verge. The market in South East Asia is poised of

Having in place the necessary landing infrastructure that Verge will deploy will make landing, transiting, and interconnecting in the South of Thailand as easy option for new cable owners, content providers and carriers looking to capitalise on the growth in that region and wishing to avoid the traditional incumbents. change, leveraging off the significant growth potential that this market represents. It looks set to change by 2025 and will be an exciting period of evolution for the region and the industry as a whole as we continue to see the melding of the subsea and data centre market evolve towards deeper convergence. STF SEAN BERGIN is Co-Founder and President of APTelecom. Sean has been instrumental in building APTelecom into a globally recognized leader in telecom and due diligence consulting, elevating from a start-up business to an award-winning global organization which has generated over US $400 million in sales for clients. Sean has significant management experience at both national and international levels at Telstra & BT. Bergin has also served as Director of Sales for Australia Japan Cable, an international wholesale submarine cable system linking Australia and Japan. Sean is also the President & Chair of the Board of Governors for Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) and is a frequent speaker and panelist within the ICT sector. Sean has worked and resided in SE Asia for more than 20 years. CHRIS DE JOSSELIN is Chief Operating Officer Verge Digital Infrastructure and former CEO of StrataNet Group Limited. Chris has over 25 years of tech sector experience covering infrastructure, application development and corporate strategy working across a mix of tech start-ups and large multinational companies. After kicking off his career as an electronic engineer in the Royal Australian Navy, Chris spent a many years implementing some of Australia’s most secure networks, before successfully launching of number of technology backed businesses across Asia spanning telecommunications, defence, oil & gas, aviation and healthcare sectors.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118





ubsea cables have seen an explosive increase in their capacity capability and build the biggest system a sensible objective. But is that sustainable or have we reached a point where that question needs to be asked.


When ‘Standard A’ earth stations stalked the earth, submarine cables were few and far between. The 30m wide



giant white dishes represented a true wonder of the space triggering the explosion of international voice calls drove demand in the 1970s. When the first fibre optic cable TAT8 entered service in 1989, its follow on-TAT 9 was already on the drawing board. In a few short years fibre optic systems had multiplied in the Atlantic and Pacific and a number of ‘private ‘cables had joined the traditional carrier consortium models competing on price capacity and accessibility.

Atlantic TAT 9, TAT 10, PTAT, small as they seem today, had several times the capacity of their immediate predecessors. The availability of satellite capacity for restoration was disappearing along with the satellite network. The question planners had to face was what do we do if one of the newer ‘super ‘cables breaks. We have nothing capable of restoring it and while performance is good reliability in the event of a cable break is disastrous.


Development s in optical technology and long manufacturing lead times meant each one was more or less obsolescent as soon as it went in the water. System capacity was increasing in a Moore’s law trajectory and as a result the industry adopted an approach of ‘just build the biggest‘ with each new project. And that mostly been the same since. Mostly but not always. The problem that arose was that each new system in the

To ensure a reliable resilient ‘system’ the plan was to build a parallel cable and thus loop systems were born. Gemini, AC1 /2 TAT12/13 and Southern Cross. In order to provide the reliability, the market demanded these very large systems at the time needed a second whole cable purely for redundancy. Being the biggest system had its serious and expensive challenges; paraphrasing an industry news item of the time tells the story well. ‘High capacity undersea cable goes live’--The Gemini Submarine cable system has gone live doubling the transatlantic telecoms capacity between London and New York. The first leg entered service earlier this year with the full system scheduled for completion by the end of the year to provide a fully redundant self-healing network. Gemini is being built at a cost of over $500m by a Cable & Wireless and WorldCom joint venture. When completed the system will have a total capacity of 60Gbit/s i.e., 30Gbit/s working with a further 30Gbit/s protection. This will more than double the existing transatlantic capacity – currently estimated by C&W to be around 26Gbit/s Yes, you did read that right- a whole cable -, the largest capacity system at the time carried 30Gbs. I was forking for Cable and Wireless at that time and at a Management Board presentation our forward thinking and respected Finance Director asked, ‘Will anyone ever use up that much capacity?’ It sounds bizarre today, but in a business still dominated by telephone calls it was perfectly reasonable. Gemini, just one leg, could carry 450,000 simultaneous telephone calls. (The new transatlantic system, Marea, has a capacity of 200Tb/s. That is over 6000 Gemini cable systems! I will leave to your imagination how many old-fashioned phone calls that represents.


In the late 2000s driven in part by internets stunning growth and the availability of cheap capacity resulting from the bankruptcy of private system where former owners or backers sold capacity at knock down prices multiple paths also became affordable. This allowed users to spread demand MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE across several cables in a so-called mesh system where losing one path from four or five has only a very moderate impact compare to losing one of two paths. Thanks to DWDM technology, which is very cheap compared to the overall system cost, and which drastically increased the capacity of each pair users had previously unheard-of amounts of capacity. To further increase the availability and choice of paths for meshing networks the former loop systems could now treat their redundant paths as brand-new cable adding even more options and more capacity to the market. Meshing and using regularly updated generations of DWDM equipment has been the model since then. It has worked well, as we have seen in the current Covid crisis, with network capacity and resilience standing up to massive increases in demand. Even before Covid growth and low costs created more demand for new systems. These seem headed for even more jaw dropping capacities. even taking account of the engineering realities that mean maximising DWDM and SDM deployment has to give way to optimising them in any one system


At first glance subsea cable capacity seems to be a classic example of classic example of Moore’s Law in action. But there is another way of looking at consistent high growth rates, one that much harder to say as well. “Bäume wachsen nicht in den Himmel.” An old German proverb, in English it means Trees do not grow to the Sky. It suggests that there are natural limits to growth and improvement. Does that perhaps apply to subsea cables and their seemingly endless ability to carry more and more data? Perhaps it does. We are once again seeing the deployment of two cables where one will do the job in every way except reliability. The political issues in the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea are well known. Their impact on subsea systems has been profound since this is an area of dense subsea cable deployment and strategic significance for the United States to get to the Malay Peninsula and beyond to India. It has made new builds transiting these waters unlikely and even prevented a completed new system from entering service. Consequently, Face Book and Google have launched Echo and Bifrost. At a glance, Gemini/AC1-2 look-a-likes connecting US to Indonesia and possibly more importantly Singapore. Why are they building two parallel virtually identical systems as opposed to their past practice of often sharing in the cost of a new system. Perhaps if they were to build just one with modern SDM-DWDM technology even on a long route like this it would be a case of the cable being too big to fail. Some of



the Northern Pacific and South China Sea systems do not have the capacity to cope if one of the new systems failed and had been built as a standalone. worsen So one relies on the other and vice versa for assured path restoration ina design similar to the loops systems used in the 1990s There is perhaps another reason, are these digital giants coming to the realisation that even they cannot realistically expect to fill cables with maybe 20 fibre pairs running at 20 Tbs per second. They are not licensed as carriers and from all one reads; they do not want to be carriers. Therefore, they cannot sell spare capacity on the open markets and there is a limit on how many swaps they can do with each other before it becomes too asymmetric. Therefore, if even these leaders in content and digital services are beginning to realise there are limits to demand will we see new systems designed around lower than maximum capacity. With the huge carrying capacity of even one fibre pair; fewer than the maximum number of pairs and even a less ambitious line rate could produce a more optimum cost-effective configuration for some newer routes. Adding more fibres costs more money in itself and requires more power and adds to the design complexity inside the repeaters, maximising the line rate increases the number of repeaters. Although more pairs make fibre pairs look inexpensive why add them if you cannot sell them. If your route passes small islands or low-density population centres why add a fibre pair if an ROADM branching unit can provide 10 Tbs to a country that’s unlikely to need more for years SDM isn’t like DWDM you have to commit at the start of manufacturing. you cannot take a wait and see approach.


Perhaps there will be a move away from build the biggest to building the best, customising designs to meet the needs of a route. Overall then we might see the old German proverb proved right in this technological helter-skelter world. More cable rather than bigger cables being the norm rather than the principle biggest is best for every new system? 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.





of 10 Gb/s per wavelength, non-coherent transmission, but here are over 400 submarine communication cables the trend really began to accelerate when coherent trandeployed under the seas and oceans of the world sponders demonstrated a 4X to 10X increase in wavelength today. With a typical cable having an engineering data rates (to 40 Gb/s or 100 Gb/s per wavelength), and a design life of at least 25 years, it’s not surprising that similar factor increase in fiber capacity. a given cable will have the opportunity to use several Only a small number of optical equipment vendors generations of transponder technology over its lifetime. were able to invest in coherent technology, and this period Or will it? Figure 1 shows the building blocks of a sub(around 2012) also saw a dramatic rise in the marine cable system, showing the breakdown importance of the hyperscale internet content of the wet plant (cable, amps, branching units) providers (ICPs) as not only consumers of and the dry plant (high- voltage management, Thanks to a general submarine network capacity but also active wave mux/demux – usually a ROADM today, acceptance of the value participants in cable consortia. ICPs were wet plant monitoring, optical power manageof open cables, new already leading the charge toward disaggrement, and transponders). When submarine cables were first deployed, it was common praccable systems from 2012 gated, open standard solutions within the data tice to have a single prime contractor for the onward were almost all center as well as over their terrestrial networks between data centers. They began to consider entire system, including the transponders, and designed from scratch the submarine network link as an extension contractual language would typically restrict to be open, and with of that open network architecture, and part the cable operator to buying the transponder commercial terms of that vision was for submarine cables to be technology from that prime contractor. For many years this was simply accepted that allowed a flexible “open” – with no obligations (neither technical as “the way we do things” in the submarine choice of transponders. nor commercial) to use a given transponder type. At that stage there was gradual and, in communications world, but that began to some cases, reluctant participation by wet plant change around the year 2009 when terrestrial vendors toward this process, but eventually it transponder vendors showed that their equipbecame more practical for third-party wet plant monitoring ment would work just fine over existing, dispersion-manequipment to operate with most of the legacy wet plant deaged submarine cables (see sidebar), and that they could ployed. Thanks to a general acceptance of the value of open offer those transponders at lower prices and with shorter cables, new cable systems from 2012 onward were almost lead times than the legacy suppliers. That was still the era MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118



all designed from scratch to be open, and with commercial terms that allowed a flexible choice of transponders.


A typical submarine cable will contain multiple fiber pairs, and a simplistic definition of an open cable would be one that allows a cable operator to select the best-of-breed transponders to operate over a given fiber pair. Thus, if a given cable has four fiber pairs, one can imagine up to four different brands of transponders deployed on the cable. The assumption here is that the “openness” of the cable is at the granularity of the fiber pair. The capacity of a given fiber pair on a submarine cable varies dramatically with the type and length of cable and the generation of transponders, but for modern cable types with trans-Atlantic reach, it would be quite reasonable to expect a capacity of up to 25 Tb/s per fiber pair using the latest fifth-generation transponder technology. In the past it would have been traditional to terminate the optical path of the submarine cable using an OTN switch in the cable landing station. In addition to regenerating the signal, the OTN switch can divide up the fiber pair capacity, act as a service demarcation point, provide sub-50-ms service protection, and enable sophisticated digital monitoring. But using OTN switches on modern fiber pairs with tens of terabits of capacity per fiber pair could result in massive equipment cost, and considerable requirements for rack space, power, and cooling. These may simply be unavailable in some CLS locations, and will add a small amount of latency. Modern compact modular platforms can replace the



monitoring function, a flexible-grid ROADM is used to partition spectrum capacity in the all-optical domain and provide demarcation points, and the latest coherent transponders can deliver the optical performance needed to drive the signal onward from the CLS to a more convenient data center location that is designed for the scale of space and power needed. Figure 2 illustrates some of the options. We can see how the spectrum of a single fiber pair is divided and can be sold as a “virtual fiber pair” to multiple operators. These operators can choose to have a demarcation point in the CLS


The first submarine cables were used with direct-detection transponders that were susceptible to chromatic dispersion. Several generations of “dispersion-managed” cables – with alternating lengths of positive and negative dispersion fiber types along the length of the cable – were developed and deployed. These cables maintain an average dispersion level around zero. But coherent technology includes electronic dispersion compensation and operates with lower nonlinear penalties if there is a lot of chromatic dispersion in the fiber. So, from about 2012, we see the emergence of “uncompensated” cables designed for coherent transmission. Coherent transponders work well with all cable types but will deliver significantly higher performance in uncompensated cables.

(shown for Tenants A and B) or to continue the optical path directly to the data center (shown for Tenant C). As you can imagine, it’s not quite as simple as just saying yes to whichever transponders are being deployed. The key point in a shared-spectrum cable is how the cable operator can ensure that all the services operating in a given spectrum slice are just as reliable, stable, and independent from each other as if they were operating on dedicated fiber pairs. To understand how this is achieved, we need to take a closer look at how submarine amplifiers operate, which will in turn explain the need for intelligent optical power management.


Submarine amplifiers are designed to operate in constant power mode. What that typically means is that the power level of the amps is carefully adjusted to deliver the required gain across the whole spectrum, assuming all optical channels are in use. Figure 3A shows how a set of eight wavelengths enters a submarine amplifier and is boosted so that all wavelengths are still below the nonlinear threshold. If the amplifier does not receive all the wavelengths that it expects for some reason, it will still apply the same total power, but this is now shared between fewer wavelengths. The end result is that each wavelength will experience more gain, and this may result in exceeding the nonlinear threshold. This is shown in Figure 3B, where three of the eight wavelengths disappear, and the remaining five wavelengths are now operating beyond the nonlinear threshold. Since there may be several dozen transponders operating across a

given fiber pair, the loss (or addition) of one or two would not usually cause a problem. It’s when multiple transponders “disappear” in a single event that can cause instability. So how could that happen? In Figure 2 we saw a shared-spectrum fiber pair with three tenants allocated different sizes of spectrum that each form a virtual fiber pair, guard bands maintained between the virtual fiber pairs, and unallocated spectrum that is filled with optical power from a modified optical amplifier that is configured to generate amplifier spontaneous emission (ASE) noise. The optical path for the wavelengths from Tenant A and Tenant B originates in the CLS, but the wavelengths for Tenant C originate in the Data Center and pass over a terrestrial backhaul network to get to the CLS. If there is a fiber break in the terrestrial backhaul network, we could lose all the Tenant C waves at once. Unless something is done to actively control the optical power levels, it is possible that Tenant A and B services could experience instability. The ASE spectrum that is currently used to maintain stable optical power levels can automatically be extended – using wavelength control in the flexible-grid ROADM – into the Tenant C spectrum. This will “soak up” the excess optical power being applied to the remaining data wavelengths and recover service stability. This automation step is driven from a power management controller, which can be implemented within the compact modular platform itself, or on a separate host computer. The power management controller can use open APIs MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118



and data models to query the submarine amplifier chain, and (assuming vendors have embraced open optical networking standards) even extract telemetry from the transponders themselves to monitor parameters such as per-wavelength Q values or pre- and post-FEC bit error rates. The flexible-grid ROADM provides the ultimate policing of allocated spectrum. For example, if a Tenant A network operator misconfigures a tuneable transponder, moving its optical power into Tenant B’s spectrum can simply be blocked by the filters within the ROADM. EllaLink – An Open Optical Platform Bringing all these concepts together we see clear examples of modern submarine cables offering the ultimate in open demarcation points and direct data center-to-data center optical paths. The EllaLink express optical platform, whose route is shown in Figure 4, is a brand-new cable system joining Southern Europe to Latin America using a direct path. This reduces end-to-end delay for services by up to 50% compared to the current routing from Europe to the U.S. and on to Brazil. Just as important is the ability to deliver up to 100 Tb/s of capacity across the trans-Atlantic portion of the cable to keep up with the demand from cloud service providers. EllaLink offers completely open interfaces for its customers, ranging from conventional digital services (from 1 GbE to 400 GbE data rates) to entire fiber pairs and, of course, shared-spectrum virtual fiber pairs. In addition to CLS-to-CLS services, direct data center-to-data center



optical services deliver both the scalability needed by cloud operators and the economy of power and rack space needed in the CLS. The latest fifth-generation submarine network transponders deliver the performance needed to close the additional optical paths out to the data center and active, intelligent power management provides the all-optical demarcation point as well as ensures optical service stability for all service types. The value of open cables has been established for almost a decade, and the additional advantages of granular, all-optical spectrum sharing become increasingly attractive as fiber capacity levels rise into the tens of terabits range. STF VINCENT GATINEAU is the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for EllaLink. Vincent has been part of the Sales & Marketing team of Alcatel Submarine Networks for 9 years, following the EllaLink project since its first days among other major systems developments. Previously, Vincent has held various international positions within the Alcatel-Lucent group in India and Chile. Vincent has an engineering degree from Institut Mines Telecom Lille Douai. He is fluent in French, English and Spanish. GEOFF BENNETT is the Director of Solutions & Technology for Infinera. He has over 25 years of experience in the data communications industry, including IP routing with Proteon and Wellfleet; ATM and MPLS experience with FORE Systems; and optical transmission and switching experience with Marconi, where he held the position of Distinguished Engineer in the CTO Office.


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


MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118





fter a year unlike any other in human history, PTC is looking forward to the opportunity to reunite, rethink, and renew its connections within the global telecommunications industry and its commitment to improve the quality of life around the world by harnessing the power of the ICT initiatives of its members. In addition to the Annual Conference, PTC continues to offer existing programs including the PTC Academy, PTC Webinar Series: Frictionless Business, PTC Young Scholar Program, PTC Research Awards, and introduces an exciting new initiative in 2021, Digging Into the Future VLOG series.


The Annual Conference returns as a hybrid event in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 16 to 19 January 2022. PTC’22: Reunite. Rethink. Renew. seeks to bring the community together with a single purpose and vision, to consider what has changed around the world in this new normal, and to renew oneself and organization through new strategies, new approaches, and new roles. Interested in participating as a speaker or panelist in the



conference program? If so, the PTC’22 Call for Participation is now open. PTC’22 topics encompass the entire spectrum of the industry in areas ranging from humanitarian efforts to the global economy. PTC invites those in the ICT industry as well as academics, researchers, and students to submit a proposal. Details about the Call for Participation, topics, and formats are available at PTC.ORG/PTC22/CFP.


The PTC Academy has provided exceptional management training from industry leaders, with coursework designed by PTC and accreditation provided in partnership with Submarine Telecoms Forum. The 2021 PTC Academy courses will feature new presenters including Jim Poole, Vice President, Global Business Development, Equinix; Darren Yong, Asia Pacific Head of Telecom, Media, and Technology, KPMG Asia Pacific; and Joe Zhu, Founder and CEO, Zenlayer. These presenters will add their wealth of industry experience to returning presenters Sean Bergin, Co-Founder and President, and Eric Handa, Co-Founder and CEO of APTelecom; Gary Kim, Consultant, IP Carrier; Tony Mosley, Director of Business Development, Ocean Special-

ists, Inc.; and Anthony Rossabi, Chief Executive Officer, Recovery Point Systems Group Holding Company. “The PTC Academy is truly a collaborative effort,” said APTelecom’s Sean Bergin, who was recently elected to serve as the President and Chair of the PTC Board of Governors. “This year, we welcome some ‘new blood’ that will no doubt provide our students with insightful perspectives in the context of the broader industry in which we all work.” PTC will offer two courses in 2021 delivered across 10 modules in 90-minute live sessions combining lectures followed by instructor Q&A and peer structured discussions, with the theme Executive Insight for Exceptional Leaders. The 2021 courses will run from 7 to 29 September and 4 to 27 October. For more information about the PTC Academy and to sign up junior executives from your organization, please visit PTC.ORG/ACADEMY.


Introduced in 2020, the PTC Webinar Series: Frictionless Business sponsored by PCCW Global continues to provide monthly sessions on a variety of topics ranging from diversity and inclusion to organizational leadership, from smart cities to digital transformation, perspectives on the investment outlook, and rapidly evolving technologies such as AI and edge computing. Webinars take place on the third Wednesday of each month, with previous sessions available to view on demand at PTC.ORG/WEBINARS.


What perspective would an archaeologist take on the digital transformation the global economy is currently undergoing? Hosted by long-time PTC Supporter William Barney, the Digging Into the Future VLOG series is a new initiative presented by PTC that explores thought leadership in the industry through interviews directly from the C-suite. Episodes such as Data Centers: From Bricks and Mortars Into the Cloud and Work From Home: Our New Virtual World lead the way in a series that will cover

hot topics and issues driving technological innovation and market trends to give us a glimpse of the digital future. Episodes are available through YouTube and other streaming platforms as well as online at PTC.ORG/DITF.


Now in its eighth year, the PTC Young Scholar Program (YSP) seeks to recognize exceptional, up-and-coming scholars in the field of information and communications technologies. The application process for the 2022 PTC Young Scholar Program is open to actively enrolled doctoral (Ph.D.) students and individuals in postdoctoral positions. Selected applicants will be invited to present their research at PTC’22: Reunite. Rethink. Renew. Visit PTC. ORG/YSP for complete details. Additionally, PTC offers two named awards for excellence in research: the Meheroo Jussawalla Research Award open to researchers and faculty members in the academic, non-profit, or private sector and the Yale M. Braunstein Student Award open to currently enrolled students with a 2022 or later graduation date. Award recipients will receive a cash award, complimentary registration to attend PTC’22, the opportunity to present their winning paper during the Annual Conference, as well as a stipend for travel and accommodations. For more information, visit PTC.ORG/ RESEARCH-AWARDS. Each year, the telecommunications and ICT industry gathers in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the PTC Annual Conference to strategize and plan the coming year. As the industry moves forward in this new world, the Pacific Telecommunications Council continues to work throughout the year to connect the world and improve the quality of life through ICT initiatives. STF JASON O’ROURKE is Marketing Manager of Pacific Telecommunications Council. He is also Owner/Photographer of Jason O’Rourke Photography. He was previously Local Marketing Manager and Associate Marketing Analyst for Sprint and Assistant Director of Development for Phi Delta Theta Educational Foundation. He has supported PTC since 2013.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118






lobal networks are becoming increasingly important as our connected world brings us closer together. Internet traffic can travel across oceans and continents in milliseconds. More users around the world expect access to the internet the way they expect to have electricity or running water. It has become a utility that is necessary rather than just a convenient perk. The way to make this happen is through collaboration. And today, there is a new model of collaboration emerging. It takes place at network hubs and subsea endpoints. We are currently in the middle of a global subsea cable system refresh, as cables launched at the turn of the century, and before the prevalence of smartphones and their ubiquitous applications, quickly approach end of life. These new cables have an exponential increase in capacity compared to the ones they will be replacing. As more and more smartphones are in use, and the activity of users continues to increase, we see the generation of massive amounts of data. We are now seeing 10 terabit systems replaced by those with the capacity to handle 160-300 terabits.




Along with that exponential increase in data comes a huge increase in demand. Consumers have now come to expect a level of connectivity like we have never seen before. The pandemic highlighted the fact that internet access is crucial to daily life. Millions of Americans came to depend on high-speed internet access to be able to work and learn remotely, as well gain access to entertainment activities like smartphone apps, streaming services, and gaming. Consumers want it fast, and they want it everywhere. According to Kissmetrics, 47 percent of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less and that 40 percent of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. The demand for broadband access in areas that are underserved has never been greater. So much so that a vast amount of money is being invested by both the public and private sectors to bring internet access to areas where it is currently lacking. And that includes cities as well as rural areas. Billions of federal dollars started flowing to get people online as part of Covid-19 relief packages. Another $100 billion has been earmarked for broadband access as part of the administration’s infrastructure plan. And yet another

traffic when needed. If you have an international or domestic network issue, but you do not know how your network works or you don’t know which subsea cable your traffic uses, you really can’t make decisions about re-orchestrating the architecture you have. We need to know how our networks work. We need cable diversity, both terrestrially and at the subsea level. The benefit of a cable landing station (CLS) colocation campus is that it provides the exact geographic point at which a subsea cable system makes landfall within a country. Having a network presence at this precise location allows assurance of the location of data traffic as it arrives from sea to land, and how it is delivered to the subsequent network PoPs or data centers. This information is critical for implementing network diversity.


$20 billion over the next decade is being lined up for rural broadband access. One thing that is clear, the necessary shift of global networks begins with a forward-looking plan.


If the last year has taught us anything, it is that a surge in digital usage puts pressure on the internet to be able to handle both the rise in traffic volumes and the shifting patterns of demand. Both can affect the end-user experience. In March of 2020, one major carrier saw a 20 percent increase in web traffic in a single week. Virtual Private Network (VPN) usage went up 49 percent, while video rose by 36 percent, and online gaming increased 115 percent. So how do carriers compensate for the traffic spikes? We now know that the key is collaboration. Today, there is more collaboration than ever before to make sure that connectivity is not compromised. We see this between subsea cable systems and backhaul terrestrial routes. It’s also exemplified in Points-of-Presence (PoPs), internet exchanges and carrier-neutral colocation facilities. So, keeping this all mind, we should be wondering whether the carriers and large enterprises truly know how their networks are orchestrated so they can quickly shift

The spinning wheel or slowly crawling line is a symbol no one wants to see. As users want access to their apps on-demand and in seconds, the data needs to be available quickly. These content and application requirements continue to push the need for data to be closer to the edge. The way to enable that is with a CLS colocation campus, which is essential in providing strong interconnections between customers, partners, and transcontinental subsea cable systems. Having a hub where all of these networks can connect avoids the problem of a longhaul route from a cable system end point to its connection to terrestrial networks. A route that avoids “hops” or connection points, which are vulnerable to points of failure, is critical. For optimal speed, you need optimal routes, away from legacy congestion points and with a wide variety of connections available between routes. This is a cost-effective solution as well. Carrier access closer to the edge, as well as route diversity, are both addressed by colocation. It’s becoming clear that it can be cost prohibitive for networks and carriers to set up individual data centers. A colocation campus is a much less expensive option that can still provide the interconnection necessary. Another consideration is cloud on and off ramps. A colocation campus with network providers that collaborate with cloud operators means diversity and multiple options to get on and off the cloud. As we see more and more enterprises entering into a pivotal moment of digital transformation, we will see those organizations utilize the cloud in various ways, including shifting some workloads off-premises, using hybrid cloud hosting services, as well as moving physical data center assets to locations that are closer to the edge. This will all be enabled as cloud adoption continues to grow. As enterprises continue to scale their businesses, the MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


FEATURE cloud will continue to be a large part of that growth. Having a location with cloud on and off ramps via dozens of network providers will accelerate that growth even further. For global enterprises, ISPs, CDNs and network operators, having access to diverse terrestrial and subsea options for connectivity is the foundation of their ability to reach new customers and penetrate new and emerging markets. Establishing a presence at a colocation campus, allows global enterprises to leverage direct, low latency routes to major U.S. business hubs that avoid regional data traffic bottlenecks. In addition, customers can also gain access to multiple subsea cable systems for intercontinental data exchange, including critical transatlantic connectivity to Europe.


Today, subsea cables are critical to financial transactions, including credit, debt financing, funding, investing, procurement and more. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, $10 trillion in transactional value travels via subsea cables every day. Customers, clients, and companies count on the transactions to be secure. But keep in mind, there are two types of security that need to be addressed, both cybersecurity and network security. Cyber security is important because it is customer facing. If an organization gets hacked, personal information is stolen and the customer is the victim. When the information is made public, the brand perception and even bottom line is affected. Network security, on the other hand, is what keeps the bank up and running in case of any infrastructure issue, whether it be a manmade breach, or a natural disaster. Two examples come to mind: the attacks of September 11th and Hurricane Sandy. On September 11th, 2001, the trading floor of the NYSE did not open for business as usual and remained closed, along with Nasdaq, until September 17th. It was the longest shutdown in nearly a century. Many trading, brokerage and other financial firms were unable to function in the immediate aftermath, because their offices were located at the World Trade Center. Parts of New York were without power and many industries and businesses struggled to provide mission critical services, including telecommunications. Data centers in the heart of the financial district were among those that faced challenges of power outages and fuel costs to power backup generators. In a similar way, lack of power and fuel were the main issues in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Generators are not necessarily designed to run for days and days, and there was a lot of creativity involved to keep everything up and



running. The issue is, many core network interconnections run through Manhattan, and they always will. It is a complicated system with so many parties involved, that moving it anywhere else is nearly impossible. Having multiple routes with fewer hops, is the best way to provide back up in any eventuality. Whether it is a major hurricane, terrorist attack, pandemic, or the next scenario we have not even thought of, we must future-proof routes to plan for a disruption of any type.


Our society continues to move towards more efficient ways of doing things we’ve always done. One area of innovation will be the convergence of mobile apps and artificial intelligence. Mobile apps collect information about human behavior continuously. With the new capacity and connectivity all coming to fruition, there will be a resulting innovation that we haven’t seen before. The next Facebook or Google is out there - the app that will become so ingrained in our lives that we cannot imagine a world before it. Whenever you allow engineers the ability to collaborate with unlimited internet capacity, you pave the way for innovation. You see new things come to the marketplace because the innovator’s capacity is limitless. STF GIL SANTALIZ is the Founder and CEO of NJFX, as well as the visionary behind developing NJFX as North America’s preeminent international hub for subsea communications, interconnecting many international carriers across three continents with multiple predictable, private backhaul and U.S. termination options. To satisfy the market, Mr. Santaliz developed the concept of “Tier 3 by the Subsea”, a purpose-built facility for high- and low-density data center space as well as colocation of subsea systems interconnecting global backbone networks to unique metro fiber assets providing safe, diverse, and unique backhaul options. This is a paradigm shift from traditional backhaul to the nearest metro without consideration of potential bottlenecks found in congested areas such as New York and Northern New Jersey. Mr. Santaliz was previously the CEO, Founder and Managing Member of 4Connections LLC, a metro fiber network provider he founded in 2001. Under Mr. Santaliz›s leadership, 4Connections pioneered the deployment of carrier-neutral dark fiber services for both New Jersey and New York City. In 2008, Mr. Santaliz successfully exited the business in a preemptive transaction with Optimum Lightpath, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cablevision, now Altice. Prior to founding 4Connections, Mr. Santaliz, who has over two decades in the communications industry, was the General Manager of a joint venture company between GPU Telecom and Telergy, which leased dark fiber network. During his early career, Mr. Santaliz held several management positions at the Williams Company and PSE&G. He began his career at MCI in New York, Atlanta, and Mexico City. Santaliz is a member of the Submarine Networks EMEA 2020 Advisory Board, as well as the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) Advisory Board. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.



ANALYTICS • Almanac Data Sets • Capacity Pricing • Data Center and Cable Market Studies • Market Sector Reports • Customized Reporting





nnovation has always been a tricky subject in our industry. Technologically speaking, new transmission materials, armoring methods, terminal equipment, and terminal equipment have seen tremendous transformations over the 170 some odd years we have been laying cables. As innovation has been driven by demand for better faster and safer communications, this literal industrial revolution marvel has remained mostly unchanged in its methods since the first telegraph was laid in the 1850s. Sure, the core is faster, the armor stronger and we’re shooting light instead of electrical impulses over glass instead of precious metals. But the core of how a cable is laid and how said cable is operated has remained largely unchanged. Even today, the primary concern for innovations has been how to keep systems secure and fast with reliable uptime. Power consumption is a concern insofar as how to acquire it and maintain it. In other technology-based industries there has been a groundswell of support for a new normal, a cleaner one, a sustainable one. In my opinion, this very well established, best kept secret of the telecoms world, niche industry is at an intersectional point in time - we have the opportunity to pivot and make this world a genuinely better place.


On April 22, 2021, Earth Day, WFN Strategies was pleased to announce joining The Climate Pledge along-



BY KRISTIAN NIELSEN side Amazon, Verizon and over 100 other companies from across dozens of industries. WFN Strategies is a long-time innovator in the submarine telecommunications industry, this felt a natural progression for us. Since 2001, we have been at the forefront of Polar and Offshore Energy fiber cable engineering, as well as attaining industry-first ISO certifications for Quality Management and Information Security. In an industry over 170 years old, they have in recent years set many industry firsts in engineering and management. The submarine telecoms industry is due for a new change, one that is renewable and sustainable. From vessels burning fuel to lay cable, to powering the data centers those cables connect to, the telecommunications industry is replete with opportunities for positive change. WFN proposes to not only reach carbon neutral operations by 2040 but also become the industry champions for powering submarine cable systems with renewable sources. Our unique position within this industry allows them to act as Green Evangelists with system suppliers, developers, and everyone within the supply chain. “WFN has long committed to sustainable practices, ranging from volunteer work with the Scouting movement to supporting environmental conservation initiatives.” Said Wayne Nielsen, Managing Director. “With this Pledge, and with the ISO 14001 certification, we take our work into the global scale and refocus our efforts for Renewable Advocacy back into this tremendous and dynamic industry. It’s a very exciting time.”

We believes that climate change demands urgent and universal action. As such, we are proud to sign The Climate Pledge. WFN Strategies stands with Amazon, Global Optimism, and the other signatories of The Climate Pledge, in a commitment to being net zero carbon by 2040—ten years ahead of The Paris Agreement. In addition, as a signatory of The Climate Pledge, WFN Strategies will: • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis. • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business change and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination • Take actions to neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 By joining The Climate Pledge, WFN Strategies is reinforcing its commitment to sustainability and we are excited to join a community that will share knowledge, ideas, and best practices.


This year, for the first time in recent history, companies in the submarine industry have started focusing their attention on sustainable practices. Just recently on 4 May 2021, Prysmian Group announced their ECO CABLE initiative, a first for our industry. Like WFN, Prysmian Group holds a unique industry position wherein they have the ability to impact significant change in cable development. In their own words “We provide products that are the green life blood that brings energy to homes, infrastructures and cities around the world. With a business strategy consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we strive to be green inside. We express this through products that when installed in homes, infrastructures and cities around the world, make these just as green inside. ECO CABLE is the first green label in the cable industry and vouches for the greenness of our cables.” Prysmian Group has proposed a label, the ECO CABLE certification, for cable systems that can meet criteria and key performance indicators, all scored in a proprietary Sustainability Scorecard. Their goal is to make the data as transparent as possible, with a priority of reaching 20% of total products assessed using ECO CABLE criteria by 2022. (ECO CABLE | Prysmian Group)

I’ve terrifically oversimplified their approach - I wholly encourage you to read more about it. These are the steps that we, as an industry, need to take to step into the next generation.


My father once told me that you cannot seek to solve a problem unless you first quantify it, an adage I’ve seen true just about anywhere I have looked. While the opportunities are best quantified to be achieved, the work must be done by those who can to achieve them. But who, you may ask? Development of systems that are focused on sustainable solutions, cliché as it may be to say, are already in development. Once upon a time, our focus was fairly focused on what happens between beach manholes, in recent years that’s grown from POP to POP, and now from DC to DC. I would argue, that with Datagrid and Meridian partnering to build a hydro power supported Datacenter in New Zealand the marker has moved again to now consider the power supply of systems as well. “A significant part of the $700m project involves laying a new submarine cable to connect Invercargill directly to the east coast of Australia, a shorter distance than between Auckland and Australia. It also involves laying a domestic festoon cable to connect Invercargill with cities on New Zealand’s east coast.” There are others in the works, companies like Bulk Infrastructure, based out of Norway, are at the forefront of development of new ideas, systems and technologies that are sustainably minded.


We, as an industry, need to treat “green” cables with as much seriousness as the universal joint or a common set of reporting standards. You can help, get involved with your industry associations and start the conversation. I would charge PTC, ICPC and SubOptic with the task of taking up the banner of sustainability! We can do it, we must. STF KRISTIAN NIELSEN is the Quality & Fulfilment Director at WFN Strategies. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP™) and ISO 9001:2015,ISO 27001:2013, ISO 14001 auditor and possesses more than 13 years’ experience and knowledge in submarine cable systems, including Polar and offshore Oil & Gas submarine fiber systems. As Quality & Fulfilment Director, he reviews subcontracts and monitors the clients and vendors, and is the final check on all delivered WFN products. He is responsible for contract administration, as well as supports financial monitoring and in-field logistics. He has worked in-field, at-desk and everywhere in between.

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118





he story of the Atlantic Cable has been told over and over throughout history in countless books, newspapers, articles, and memoirs. The projector, Cyrus Field, and his cable ship, the Great Eastern, are somewhat “household names”, and famously held in high esteem for their many successes. As with most stories, there are often hidden figures, hidden achievements, and hidden sacrifices that should be brought into the light. For example, few know that there were three significant early Atlantic Cables: 1) the short-lived 1858 cable, 2) the nearly-laid 1865 cable, and 3) the successful 1866 cable. However, the “first” 1858 cable was usurped by the 1866 cable. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has granted World Heritage recognition to the 1866 landing site in Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, Canada but not to the 1858 landing site just up the bay in Sunnyside. Careful wording is used to trick laypeople that the Heart’s Content site is the first cable. Fortunately, my good friends Roger Snook and Gerard Lynch, are preserving the archeological remains of the first cable station in North America, located in Sunnyside. Can you please treat this like a foot note or similar? I’ll cast a net to my friends at Google and Facebook that,



if you want to give back to this industry’s history, please contact any of us to discuss.So, you are wanting to read about a cable ship and this author has just digressed into casting stones at the UN, and begging for archeological funding? The point to be made is that, just as the first 1858 cable has been eclipsed through time, there are even earlier cables, cable ships, and their projectors who started the wheels in

1854-Dec 11 back to work after refit

motion. These are dearly overlooked in history and this article will hopefully correct this deficit. Let’s continue to ignore the article’s title and go back further in time to develop the story. On August 28th, 1850 the first submarine cable deployed by a ship was laid from Dover, England to Calais, France. The cable ship was the Goliath, and the projectors were brothers Jacob Brett and John Watkins

Brett of London, England. Oops, that was a false start, let’s go back even further to 1847 when a young English emigrant to Canada decided to take up the trendy new profession of telegraphy. This lad would be the great Frederick Newton Gisborne. Now let’s look again at that name: Gisborne is part of the first North American cable ship’s name. Newton is in fact a nod to the Newton, Sir Isaac, who Gisborne descended from on his mother’s side. Gisborne started his life-long telecommunication journey at age 23 with his brother Hartley. They studied in Montreal under the guidance of a pupil of Samuel Morse. Gisborne was immediately hired by the Montreal Telegraph Company who had built the line from Toronto to Montreal; and were continuing construction eastward. Gisborne led the endeavor to build the line from Montreal, to Quebec, then further to the province of New Brunswick however, his efforts to convince the Government of New Brunswick to extend the route through it were in vain. In 1848, they were more interested in connecting to the US rather than to Upper Canada. For completeness, Gisborne also visited Nova Scotia to likewise, try to convince the Govt. to connect to Quebec. They too were more interested in connecting to the United States. It was clear

A Later Example of a Schooner Rigged Steamer Yacht Similar in Size to the Ellen Gisborne

that a route to Quebec was not in the cards. In 1849 Nova Scotia recruited Gisborne to lead their first telegraph build, he then accepted the position of Superintendent of its construction in 1849 and then became Superintendent of the lines and Chief operator. It was in 1849 in Nova Scotia that Gisborne first witnessed the beauty and business of “International Telecommunications”. That year, while Gisborne constructed the first telegraph line out of the port of Halifax, the first Pony Express in North America carried European news from Halifax, then across Nova Scotia to Annapolis Royal, then by boat across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John, New Brunswick (then the terminus of the telegraph line from New York City). The news was then telegraphed to NYC. International news agencies and businesses paid for this service. Speed and efficiency were the priority. (Note the link connecting Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts was by train well into the year of 1850). It should be clear to the reader that Gisborne witnessed the first International Network (Internet) where news “packet” services were in play and low latency was to be challenged. From a biography of Gisborne: “Gisborne, who was the telegraph operator at Halifax, on 15 November 1849, sent the first message over the newly completed electric telegraph line between Halifax and Saint John, carrying fresh news brought from Europe by the Cunard Line for New York, which forever ended the Nova Scotia Pony Express.” Let’s put the final piece in the puzzle: Gisborne is in Halifax in 1850, participating in the translation and re-trans-

mission of newspaper “data” between London and NYC. It arrives by vessel. He has made acquaintances with a fellow Haligonian, Samuel Cunard, owner of the transatlantic steamship services (and largest passenger service in the world at that time) and sees the importance of faster ships. He also participated in the electric telegraph replacing slower technology and witnessed the improvement of transmission speed by extending the terminus of the NYC telegraph line from Saint John to Halifax. He now has all the inputs to deduce that extending the telegraph line further east would shorten the ship’s travel distance and improve transmission rates. Yes, the NYC-LON network could benefit from an “upgrade”. Then, out of the blue, telegraphic engineering news of the first submarine cable between England and France arrives in Halifax for translation and transmission to NYC in September 1850. Surely this news would have quickly reached Gisborne though

professional colleagues or perhaps, firsthand in a European paper to be translated and transmitted. This detail is lost in history however, we do know that in 1850, Gisborne departs for Canada’s eastern most island of Newfoundland with an idea: To extend the telegraph line further east of Halifax and remove 2 days of steamship latency from the NYC-LON path. I will skip the details of the next two years and save for future articles but for sure there is danger, adventure, suspense, exploration in the wilds, wheeling and dealing, fund raising, monopolies, death, international cable route planning optimizations, and double-crossing for poor Gisborne. Then things get even worse. The important part is that the Brett brothers finally have the first successful cable operating between England and France in September 1851 and Gisborne visits with them shortly after to learn the ropes and initiate his own submarine cable build in Canada. MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118



OK. We are at the half-way point of this article so I guess I should finally get on topic: the cable ship. Nope, one more digression: Many compare the effort to build a transatlantic cable in 1858 to that of the Moon missions of the 1960’s. It was a huge and costly project, spanning a decade, that changed the path of civilization. Here we have a guy in Halifax, Canada who reads about a brand-new technology on the other side of the Atlantic, then says, “I’ll have me one of those.” and does! I am sensing Newton but he may also have Elon Musk genes! Gisborne was able to order the submarine cable in early 1852 from the Brett Brothers. Two other cables built in 1852 failed (Wales-Ireland and Scotland-Ireland). Would the third time be lucky? Gisborne also designed and patented a telegraph insulator in this time, while realizing that he needed a cable ship to lay the cable; and our story begins. Researching the cable ship Ellen Gisborne has been both fascinating and frustrating. In fact, my lovely wife Janet laughed when I said it was easier to find old cables on a beach than to find information on this ship. She then reminded me that she always found the cables first. Calls to many museums in North America, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, here in Halifax, yielded no tangible results. Not even a painting or “similar facsimile”. What follows is information pulled from old newspapers, passenger records, and digitized books that paint a picture of the life of this vessel. The Ellen Gisborne, named after Gisborne’s wife (see inset) was built in a Philadelphia shipyard in 1852. She



was a steam yacht with a 50-horsepower engine driving a screw propeller. Newspapers show the Ellen Gisborne departed Philadelphia on October 8th, 1852 under the command of Captain Norgrave. She steamed to Holmes Hole (today known as Vineyard Haven), Massachusetts then departed on October 12th. She arrived 42 hours later in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on October 14th. Passenger records show the crew that ferried the ship to Halifax, returned to the USA on the steamship Sir John Harvey (Halifax-Boston) on October 27th. The record shows Captain Norgrave, his first officer, and 3 seamen. Perhaps they enjoyed themselves in Halifax for two weeks or perhaps they provided some hand-over training to Gisborne and his team. The R. S. Newall & Company of London supplied the submarine cable. It arrived in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on September 29th via the transport ship Henrietta and awaited loading. Records show that Gisborne sailed into Pictou, Nova Scotia on November 4th so, he would have had three weeks to learn the ropes and sail around Nova Scotia to reach the cable lay area in the Northumberland strait. The cable ship is reported to be in Charlottetown on Saturday, November 6th with Gisborne giving a conference. He then departs to further inspect the cable landing sites. The next reports are on Friday, November 12th when the Ellen Gisborne, towing the Brigantine Eliza, loaded with cable, departs Charlottetown for the cable ground. The two vessels then return battered and bruised on Sunday, November 14th after grounding on a reef off New Brunswick, a reef that fishermen still curse today.

Sadly, for Gisborne, the local paper in Charlottetown was, on the same day, reporting his submarine cable efforts as well as reporting failed attempts of the Scotland-Ireland submarine cable also taking place. (the news arriving via the same telegraph system that he was advancing). Gisborne makes repairs to his vessels and sets out for a second attempt on Friday, November 19th. This time he is successful, and the first cable lay in North America is completed on Monday, November 22, 1852, in a snowstorm. Gotta love Canada eh? The cable is 12 miles in length and connects Amherst Head, Prince Edward Island to Money Point, New Brunswick. (I will provide more details on this system in a future article, including an interview with Mr. George Read of PEI. His family owned the farmland where the cable landed, and he recalls seeing the excess cable coiled in the field. Perhaps this was the first Cable Depot in North America?) Gisborne returns victorious to Charlottetown on Wednesday, November 24th. Not resting on his laurels, Gisborne soon steams to St. John’s, Newfoundland where the Ellen Gisborne will winter. He arrives on Wednesday, December 8th after a three-day voyage. In April 1853, the Newfoundland Government leases the Ellen Gisborne for two months to monitor and enforce fishing regulations. During this time, Gisborne secured exclusive cable landing rights and support of the Newfoundland Govt. to build a telegraph system from eastern Newfoundland to connect to NYC via a future 150-mile second submarine cable to PEI from Newfoundland. The successful proof


Steam Yacht (Schooner Rigged)

Build Date:



39 (Gross.)

Registry: 33955

Shipyard: Philadelphia Length: TBD Width: TBD Engine:


50HP Steam

Screw Propeller /Sail

Construction: Wood Captains:

William Dyer 18531032 James Kelly 1853095 Thomas Pitt 1855044 Joseph Pynn


Sept. 10, 1834


Guy (1852)


Place of Birth:

Jan. 4, 1854

Ellen Bertha (1853)

Place of Death: Burial Plot:

Halifax, N.S.

Charlottetown, PEI Charlottetown, PEI

Points of Interest: Ellen’s Creek

of concept 12-mile cable, just laid, was enough to convince the government of the technology boom about to happen. Newfoundland was the gateway to North America and telecommunications with Europe was proven to be profitable. For additional, and much needed funding, Gisborne then travelled to NYC to find investors. He formed a company with two gentlemen, Horace B. Tibbetts, and Darius B. Holbrook. In June, a terrestrial build across the wilds of Newfoundland is started by Gisborne. His clever idea is to take advantage of the challenging geography and run the pole lines between the heads of the long deep harbours of southern Newfoundland. Ships could easily bring men and supplies (poles, wires, insulators, provisions, and tools) to these locations. It is reported on June 2, 1853 that the Ellen Gisborne and another vessel are ferrying 260

men to the location of the first transatlantic cable station (what is now Sunnyside) to start the terrestrial build westward towards Nova Scotia. He chose this location, 4 years before the cable station was built. By September of 1853, the two NYC backers failed to honour their debts leaving Gisborne in the lurch and hundreds of unpaid labourers. This story has a happy ending due to Gisborne’s gallant efforts but, at this point in time, he is very unpopular. Despite this, he honours the debts and vows to repay the good people of Newfoundland. His first step is to liquidate all assets, including the cable ship Ellen Gisborne. The cable ship goes on auction on Wednesday October 5th, 1853 in St. John’s Newfoundland and is sold. The purchase payment soon becomes an issue that is escalated in the newspapers on October 26th. The Bank of

British North America, an intermediary handling the transfer of payment, had claimed some of the payment and did not transfer the full amount to the seller. This hold up seems to extend well past December as the purchaser places ads in the local papers that the Ellen Gisborne will soon be providing passage and mail services between ports in eastern Newfoundland. A local famine in Brigus, Newfoundland is reported in the papers in February. The Ellen Gisborne is dispatched with food to assist. This is its first report of regular duties. In April of 1854, the Ellen Gisborne is finally providing a passenger and mail service between St. John’s, Harbour Grace, Brigus, Carbonear, and Portugal Cove. On May 18, 1854, the papers report the ship to be out of service for 3 days for repairs. One month later she is again taken MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


BACK REFLECTION Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris

out of service for repairs and remains out of service until November 30th, 1854. The ship is an enigma as newspapers in Boston reported on December 9th, 1854 that the ship had sunk returning to St. John’s after repairs in Boston. The papers in St. John’s on December 11th report the ship to “been thoroughly refitted and enlarged” and is back in service. On August 13, 1855, the Ellen Gisborne is reported to have carried “His Excellency, Governor Darling to a ball in St. John’s where there was “a dazzling display of rank, beauty, and fashion”. Captain Thomas Pitt resigns on September 17, 1856. This correlates with new ownership of the vessel by a Mr. George Mackinson. By February 1859, the ship, and its condition are debated in government by some members. There is even a comparison to the machinery on recovered sunken vessel being in better working order. In August of 1861, the condition of the vessel is contended in the papers where the owner, Mr. George Mackinson assures the public that the boilers are “perfectly good”; but he then ads that “new boilers are ordered”. One gets the feeling he is overly thrifty. The Ellen Gisborne comes to the rescue on January 12, 1862. The Newfoundland tradition of “mummering”, carried over from Ireland and England, has people in disguise visiting neighbours on “Old Christmas”. In this instance, it is reported that a group of Catholics in costume started skirmishes with Protestants. Fist fights and even firearms discharging occurred. The army was called in to quell the riot and the Ellen Gisborne was used as their transport.



In March of 1862, we again see debates in parliament for the petitioning of Mr. George Mackinson to replace the Gisborne due to 6 accidents in the past 4 years. These debates continue off and on well into 1865 however, the Ellen Gisborne continues to chug along doing her job. It is in her final years that the Ellen Gisborne is reported to do something most remarkable. In May 1865, the Gisborne carries the carcass of a Walrus, 11 feet in length and 14 feet in girth from Bay Roberts. It is reported to have been purchased by the French Consul for the Paris Museum. The report also goes on to say that at the same time of having a Walrus onboard, the Gisborne also towed a Brigantine called Walrus, from Carbonear. Perhaps the flow of Screech* led to this potential journalistic mix-up? Goo goo g’joob! Yes, today one can view taxidermized Walruses on display at the Muséum national d’histoire na-

turelle in Paris, but I have been unable to confirm their origin. I was unable to find details of the final demise of the Ellen Gisborne however, naval records show that she was “stranded” on June 20th, 1870. Stranded is a naval term for running aground. The final reference to the Ellen Gisborne is in a newspaper editorial from 1900 making fun of the stingy owner, Mr. George Mackinson. It stated that they thought he killed himself tying to us a capstan to raise the Ellen Gisborne. The device apparently failed and sent him flying. Perhaps her ladyship was an enigma doing good whenever possible. STF PHILIP PILGRIM is the Subsea Business Development Leader for Nokia's North American Region. 2021 marks his is 30th year working in the subsea sector. His hobbies include "Subsea Archaeology" and locating the long lost subsea cable and telegraph routes (and infrastructure). Philip is based in Nova Scotia, Canada.





ON THE MOVE NATALIA LÓPEZ CÉSPEDES became Digital Project Manager at Desarrollo País, the Chilean development infrastructure fund.

Hexatronic Group AB announced in mid-March that PERNILLA LINDÉN had been appointed CFO and will take office in August of this year. “With her solid experience as CFO, Finance Business Partner and Business Director, she will play a central role in our continued growth journey. Her experience of supporting and working very close to the business together with her experience as a CFO in listed companies and personal qualities was fully in line with the profile we were looking for.” says Henrik Larsson Lyon, Chief Executive Officer at Hexatronic Group. JIM DOLAN joined the team at Crosslake Fibre as the new US Senior Sales Executive at the end of April. Jim brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization as a trusted provider of critical infrastructure solutions.

In late March, ADAM DAY began his new position as the VP for Enterprise and Technology sales group for the Americas region. “I’m excited to step into this expanded role to help businesses leverage Telstra Americas’ deep technology experience. We’ve seen incredible growth in our technology and financial services markets, and have ambitious growth plans in broadcast, enterprise services as well as our newest market in Canada,” Day said. “I look forward to working with our sales teams and partners to support a wide range of enterprise companies looking to grow their network infrastructure and workplace technology solutions.” In mid-April Telstra also announced the appointment of KRIS SCHAFFER as the new Canada Country Lead. Kris has over 10 years’ experience with both leadership and customer-facing roles at IBM, Bell Canada, and TELUS Communications. GISLE M. ECKHOFF will take over as Executive Vice President for Bulk Data Centers effective September 1 this year. Previously Eckhoff was the Chief Executive Officer at DigiPlex where he was instrumental in repositioning DigiPlex from a local player in the Norwegian colocation market, into a globally recognized leader of sustainable, large-scale data centers. “With so much untapped market potential in the Nordics, Bulk with its strong focus on sustainability, the significant investments in network fiber and a long track record of land banking will give me and the team a great platform for unlocking the power of the Nordics,” says Gisle M. Eckhoff. “This is an exciting place to be at an exciting time.”






Sulawesi Maluku Papua Cable System Disruption

ASN Has Started Building Bifrost System

Subsea Environment Services To Decommission Tat-14

Fugro Finishes Phase 1 Of Bifrost Marine Survey Xtera Pens Supply Contract For GigNet-1 Cable System


Converge ICT Lands Final Cable Connection In Mindanao Trans Ocean Network Partnering With Ocean Networks for Caribbean Express Bulk Fiber Networks’ HAVSIL Fully Contracted

CURRENT SYSTEMS Malbec Cable To Connect Through Equinix DCs Quintillion To Connect To Equinix Seattle Data Center DE-CIX Will Partner With EllaLink Telxius Announces Tannat Is Open For Business

CAF Aims To Be Strategic Partner On TransPacific Cable KMH To Partner with Converge On Bifrost Cable System BoM Wants To Connect Antarctic With A Subsea Cable APTelecom Appointed as Confluence Networks Sales Partner

Tampnet Acquires BP’s 1200km Gulf of Mexico Fibre Network


Dare-1 Cable System Now In Service

Prysmian Working For Sustainability With Eco Cable

Telxius Inks Deal With Interxion For Dunant

Analysys Mason Receives A Queen’s Award For Enterprise For International Trade

METISS Cable System Is Commissioned and In-Service

ASN Joining Forces with iXblue and SeaOwl


Submarine Cables And The Importance Of Spain

WIOCC Extends Connectivity To New Locations in South Africa

Gisle M. Eckhoff Named As Executive Vice President At Bulk Data Centers

Digital Fortress Opens 100 MW 100 Acre Data Center Forecast Projects Va Renewable Power Load Insufficient Telia Carrier Establishes New PoP At Cologix VAN2 Data Center Ascenty DC Will Connect Seabras-1 in São Paulo APTelecom Provides Support To Verge Digital Infrastructure After Capital Raised, Verge To Proceed With Projects Digital Edge to acquire Sejong Telecom DC and CLS EdgeConneX Extends Global Footprint Into Spain Telxius Inks Deal With Interxion For Dunant

WFN Strategies Joins The Climate Pledge Telstra Names Kris Schaffer as Canadian Country Lead Egypt, Sudan Agree To Enhance International Connectivity Cooperation Aqua Comms Announces Acquisition by Triple Point’s Digital 9 Infrastructure PLC New Royal Navy Ship To Protect ‘Critical’ Undersea Cables

TECHNOLOGY & UPGRADES New 400GbE Trans-Atlantic POP to POP Successful Infinera Complete Successful Trial of XR Optics Infinera Expands Open Optical Portfolio NEC Successfully Creates 24 Fiber Pair Cable

MARCH 2019 | ISSUE 104


ADVERTISER CORNER Dear Readers, Greetings! My name is Terri Jones, and I am the Sales Manager for SubTel Forum ... and I invite you to use this link to register, and join the growing family! We welcome: Your participation, Your support, Your feedback, and, Your articles! And we will continue to provide premier publications for you to sponsor and reach your clients, future clients, vendors, and peers to keep them updated on your unique brand. The submarine telecoms industry is strong, viable, and growing! Below is a brief recap of upcoming opportunities and all include additional online promotion. Thank you for taking the time to review, and your consideration. Please reach out with any questions or suggestions. And, once again, a very special thanks to our current and future sponsors. Let’s keep our industry thriving! STF





Terri Jones, Sales Manager, SubTel Forum TERRI JONES is Sales Manager for Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. For over 20 years, she was in the business of buying… media that is. Terri was managing million dollar buys with a variety of advertising agencies, such as Media Reactions and Time Life, buying time on radio and television for client advertising. She first joined SubTel Forum in 2018 to support sales of the SubOptic 2019 Conference in New Orleans , which was managed by STF Events. Since then, she has been responsible for sales in all of the SubTel Forum products and publications such as the Magazine, Submarine Cable Almanac, Cable Map and Industry Report.

SUBMARINE TELECOMS FORUM MAGAZINE Over 100,000 downloads per bi-monthly issue. Two months exposure. Rates start as low at $1,750.



Stay safe,

January: Global Outlook March: Finance & Legal May: Global Capacity July: Regional Systems September: Offshore Energy November: Data Centers & New Technology


• Complimentary tile web banner (visible on SubTel Forum Newsfeed) • 30 second promotional video (FullPage and Two- Page Spread only) • Social media acknowledgment (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) • Acknowledgment in announcement Press Release and mailer

SUBTEL FORUM INDUSTRY REPORT Over 560,000 downloads per annual issue. One- year exposure Yearly cost: $3,750

dIn, Facebook & Twitter) • Acknowledgment in announcement Press Release and mailer


New this year: Sponsors can now lock into a specific category! Let me know which category you would like, so I can lock you in for 2021.

1. Advertisement viewable throughout one section of the industry report – either a static image or looping video 2. Complimentary tile web banner (visible on SubTel Forum Newsfeed) • Social media acknowledgment (Linke-

SUBTEL FORUM ALMANAC Over 525,000 downloads per quarterly issue. Three months exposure. Quarterly cost: $5,000


• Exclusive sponsor of next issue • Logo and link on cover and acknowledgment on publication webpage • Single page ad (8.5 x 11) near front of document • 30 second promotional video

• Complimentary tile web banner (visible on SubTel Forum Newsfeed) • Social media acknowledgment (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) • Acknowledgment in announcement Press Release and mailer

MAY 2021 | ISSUE 118


ADVERTISER CORNER SUBTEL FORUM ONLINE CABLE MAP We are pleased to announce our newest opportunity for Sponsors: If you haven’t had the chance, use this link to the Online Cable Map to explore our many layers. Monthly rate: $1,800


• One month sponsorship of the layer of your choice (details below) • Logo/Link on every level your layer • Complimentary tile web banner (visible on SubTel Forum Newsfeed) • Social media acknowledgment (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) • Acknowledgment in announcement Press Release


• In- Service Cables – details of more than 450 cable systems, updated biweekly • Planned Cables – more than 50 cable systems, updated bi- weekly

• Cableships – location and status of more than 45 cableships accomplishing both cable installation and repair activities, updated every 6 hours • Data Centers – more than 1,700 data centers; grouped by company owners, updated quarterly

SUBTEL FORUM PRINT CABLE MAP And, last, but certainly not least: This beautiful, large format print map showcases every major international submarine cable system, and we are proud to say, hangs in many offices in our industry. Order now to secure your spot for 2022! Yearly logo cost: $3,750


Complimentary tile web banner (visible on SubTel Forum Newsfeed) Social media acknowledgment (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) Acknowledgment in announcement Press Release and mailer



• Offshore Facilities – representing more than 40 offshore O&G facilities, both planned and in- service, updated bi- weekly

MARCH 2021 | ISSUE 117