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FORUM ISSUE 100 | MAY 2018





elcome to the 100th Issue of Submarine Telecoms Forum Magazine, our Global Capacity issue. Anyone who has been reading SubTel Forum over the years may have noticed how we have updated the look every once in a while. Some changes are small nuances, tweaks that might go unnoticed to the reader; some are major updates that might cause some pause. For this our centennial issue we decided to throw the long pass and do a major re-design of our flagship industry product. We started reer advice. He’s in his late 20s and doing with some fairly heavy soul searching about quite well but sees himself pigeon-holed by what we wanted to talk about, and how best his current employer with limited growth we could convey our particular view of the potential. He’s been approached by another playing field. We hired a new magazine expecompany who have proffered him a handrienced designer who promised a fresh new some proposal, but he sees himself owning polished look and feel. We hired a bunch of his own company one day sooner or later. A-list models, who could open each article And there I am on the phone with him for wearing the latest Ralph Lauren 45 minutes or so while my late or Gucci – but then the estimates dinner cooled in the other room. came in from their New York and Do you stay where you are? Or do For this our centennial issue we London managers, so we dropped you join the Borg? Having once decided to throw the long pass and the models and decided to focus survived the corporate Borg I am instead on the content. especially sensitive to that, but do a major re-design of our flagship Thanks to the excellent analysis I also don’t want to express my industry product. We started with and discussion from some very personal views or acrimonies. some fairly heavy soul searching talented and experienced writers Being asked for your advice is an about what we wanted to talk about, we are chockablock with some honor. It’s also a significant burden superb articles. From datacenters – especially when the requester is and how best we could convey our in rural Virginia, to cables spanyour daughter’s future husband. particular view of the playing field. ning the pacific and west Africa, So, there I am talking to him this issue covers a myriad of issues as logically and non-committed and ideas. And given where we are as I can muster, talking through in this industry, one of the busiest times in recent memory, the benefits and risks of option A versus option B, and I the vantage of ‘global capacity’ from a variety of players is a asked what about option C, to which he said he hadn’t even welcome addition to the ongoing conversation. considered that. Well, option C needs to be considered as th So, here we are, our 100 issue, and the start and/or rein- well, I said, which then nearly doubled the ‘what ifs’ and troduction of something new. the phone call as well. My future son in law called me recently seeking caThe telephone call reminds me of the time when my old and



honest-to-god best-ever boss, Rex Ramsden, was sitting around my kitchen table in our old house in Virginia. He had just flown in from London for a week of meetings that I had arranged with various governmental clients in DC and beyond, and Peg and I were feeding him beer and dinner around our table with three young kids playing, eating, crying nearby. In that brief, hectic and imperfect moment Rex would throw out an option that would change our lives forever: come to England and take over BTM’s Marketing Department. I remember the many what if ’s we considered, the advice we sought from business and personal friends and family. I think we probably talked hours and hours before we decided on option A or option B. And in the end, we decided, probably regretted it on more than one occasion, then moved on, knowing it would somehow work out. I suppose that’s the best advice I could give my future son in law – that whatever you do it’ll work out in the end. So, bring that all back to good ol’ SubTel Forum Magazine. We made some significant changes to our magazine that we hope you’ll come to like and appreciate, and yes, I would love to hear from you on your likes and dislikes. I figure if all else fails, it’ll work out in the end. STF Good reading,

Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. 21495 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 201 Sterling, Virginia 20166, USA Tel: [+1] 703.444.0845 Fax: [+1] 703.349.5562 ISSN No. 1948-3031 PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER:

Wayne Nielsen |


Kristian Nielsen |


Christopher Noyes |


Kieran Clark |


Stephen Nielsen |


Weswen Design |


Christopher Noyes, Emmanuel Desurvire, Jose Chesnoy, Kieran Clark, Kristian Nielsen and Stuart Barnes


Ali Amiri, Dag Aanensen, Emmanuel Delanoue, Funke Opeke, Greg Twitt, Joel Ogren, Molilaauifogaa Seanoa – Laumua, Stephen Nielsen, Stewart Ash, Vinay Nagpal and Winston Qiu

NEXT ISSUE: July 2018 – Regional Systems 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.

Wayne Nielsen Publisher

Copyright © 2018 Submarine Telecoms Forum, Inc. V O I C E O F T H E I N D U S T RY

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100



FORUM ISSUE 100 | MAY 2018

CONTEN TS features


MUSINGS ON ISSUE 100 By Stephen Nielsen


GLOBAL CAPACITY: Is the edge moving again? By Joel Ogren



Tui-Samoa Cable Making Waves in the Submarine Cable Arena

Talking Industry Trends with Etisalat’s Group Chief Carrier & Wholesale Officer


By Emmanuel Delanoue and Molilaauifogaa Seanoa – Laumua






MainOne Invests in Cote D’Ivoire Landing

Now At The Confluence Of Five Continents

By Funke Opeke

By Vinay Nagpal



A Subsea Cable Changing Internet and Cloud Infrastructure Across the Pacific

The England Cable Linking Stavanger and Newcastle Will Provide the Nordics With a New Gateway to Global Capacity



By Winston Qiu

By Dag Aanensen



Poised to be the host of Large-Scale Subsea Activity

By Stewart Ash ewart As



By Greg Twitt

departments EXORDIUM........................................................ 2 ANALYTICS........................................................ 6 BACK REFLECTION........................................... 48 FROM THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE............... 54

FROM THE CONFERENCE DIRECTOR.................. 58 SUBMARINE CABLE NEWS NOW....................... 62 ADVERTISER CORNER...................................... 64




Big Data Driving Big Bandwidth


ig Data. Datacenters. Over-TheTop (OTT) Providers. Cloud Services. Video Streaming. Artificial Intelligence. What do all of these have in common? They are involved in nearly every aspect of modern life and have a near insatiable need for telecommunications bandwidth. As we continue to move towards a Star Trek like future (or Blade Runner, depending on your point of view), our increasingly technologically dependent way of life drives the need for more and more bandwidth. The cornerstone of this huge upswell in data driven industries is, of course, our little corner of the telecommunications market. The submarine fiber industry makes it all possible by connecting the world to a global telecommunications network. Industry dynamics have changed very little from a year ago, and trends observed previously have largely



continued. Indeed, the prevalence of content and service providers driving new cable systems instead of ISP and infrastructure providers should be considered the new normal. This new way of approaching the business seems here to stay. As all these providers continue to expand their reach, the submarine fiber industry will have

numerous opportunities for growth. 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 technol-

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Figure 1: Global System Capacity by Year, 2013-2017




ogies are being implemented. The data used in this article is obtained from the public domain and is tracked by the ever evolving STF Analytics 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 this rapid pace in the coming years. Capacity increased by 35 percent in 2017, compared to an increase of 24 percent in 2015. With 15 systems entering service in 2017, there was a much larger increase in capacity compared to a year ago. (Figure 1) With easy and cheap access to 100G wavelength upgrades and 200G beginning to enter regular service, this comes as little surprise. New systems are also making use of increasing numbers of wavelengths crammed on to a single fiber pair – with more than 100 wavelengths per fiber pair no longer being much of an outlier. Currently, the EMEA region has the largest share of global capacity at 26 percent. However, this is a significant change from one year ago when this region account for a full third of the total global capacity. Growth in this region has slowed down in recent

Transpacific Transatlantic Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian EMEA AustralAsia Arctic Americas Figure 2: Current Capacity by Region

Transpacific Transatlantic Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian EMEA AustralAsia Arctic Americas Figure 3: Planned Capacity by Region, 2018-2020

years, while regions like the Americas (18 percent) and Transatlantic (21 percent) have been implementing high capacity systems driven by OTT providers. These two regions are up 6% and 4%, respectively. The AustralAsia region – typically one of the fastest growing regions – has reduced its share of the total global capacity slightly. This region now accounts for 16% of total, compared to 17% at this time last year. While the rapid growth of the region had been spurred on by connecting various Pacific is-

land nations, most of these are now connected and future projects across the Pacific are shifting focus to the US to East Asia/Australia routes. The Indian Ocean Pan-East Asia region has also fallen by 1% from a year ago while the Transpacific region has held steady, maintaining 7% of global capacity. (Figure 2) With more and more systems being announced, the STF Analytics research team takes note of each region the new systems will touch. The new normal of content and MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


ANALYTICS service provider driven cables will continue to push growth in the Americas, Transatlantic and Transpacific regions. Routes in these regions connect the three biggest tech markets in the world – The Americas, Europe and East Asia. As providers like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. continue to work towards directly connecting their data centers, expect any region where these companies have a presence to continue to increase bandwidth growth. While the Transpacific has been relatively quiet for many years, half a dozen new, high capacity systems are planned through 2020. Some of these systems are already well underway, and most of the others are backed by OTT providers or an existing customer base. This should result in the Transpacific region exploding in bandwidth over the next several years. The Arctic – which is relatively new territory only truly explored for the first time in 2017 – should also experience a healthy increase in activity. Now that the ability to implement an Arctic system has been proven, more eyes are turning north to conquer latency by taking advantage of the shortest paths on the planet. The AustralAsia and EMEA regions should stay relatively the same, seeing no surge of new projects nor additional sudden drop in activity. These regions should now be considered stable from a capacity growth perspective. The Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian region will see a dramatic decrease in both system activity and capacity growth over the next several years. This region suffers greatly from being a “passthrough” region, and generally





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Figure 4: Projected Global Capacity by Year, 2017-2020

100 80 60 40 20







Figure 5: Average System Capacity by Year, 2015-2020

only benefits every time a huge SEAME-WE or AAE type system comes through. Even with the surging economic and technological advancement of India, there has not seemed to be enough demand to warrant more cable systems in this region. (Figure 3) Activity in the Transatlantic and Americas region should drop off slightly as they have had a high amount of activity over the last couple of years.

Long term expectations are still positive, as connecting North and South America, and the Americas to Europe and Africa will continue to be key parts of any data center infrastructure plans. Continued improvements to wavelength division multiplexing, coupled with 100G wavelength technology being the baseline for any future system, new systems can provide ever increasing amounts of bandwidth

over the same amount of fiber. 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 three years. As new wavelength technologies like 150G and 200G continue to see commercial implementation and with a potential for 400G on the horizon, this capacity explosion should continue well beyond the immediate future. Based on reported data, global capacity is estimated to increase 45 percent by the end of 2019. 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. Looking ahead even further, 2020 already shows another solid increase in global capacity even with only a handful of systems announced so far. (Figure 4) All systems currently planned are being designed with at least 100G technology in mind, so expect an even more drastic increase as new wavelength technologies begin to see widespread commercial use. Additionally, 60 percent of all currently planned systems are driven either directly or partially by OTT providers. This has generally solidified business cases for planned systems, and there are no signs this trend will change. A further sign of evidence the submarine fiber industry is up to the task of meeting global capacity demands is that the average new system capacity over the last 5 years has risen at a steady pace. Averaging at just over 25 Tbps in 2014, new systems now aver-

No Yes

Figure 6: Systems CIF, 2018-2020

age at well over 40 Tbps and should start hitting an average of over 80 Tbps by 2020. With future systems being able to take advantage of higher wavelength capacities and potentially more fiber pairs, this average should continue to increase at a steady rate. (Figure 5) While these projections seem promising, it is important to take a step back and assess how likely it is that all this planned capacity will enter service. There are 45 systems planned globally through 2020 and only 38 percent have achieved the important Contract in Force (CIF) milestone. This is the real determination on whether a system will ever see the light of day, so the numbers for future systems are of some concern. This time last year 47 percent of planned systems for the following three years were CIF, potentially indicating the overall market climate has come down from last year’s peak. (Figure 6) So, what is the bottom line? Lots of potential but a little more than the usual financing uncertainty. As is almost always the

case, getting a system financed is the biggest hurdle for a planned system to overcome. The double-digit percentage reduction in CIF rates from a year ago are a little troubling. However, all these big data and cloud service providers are not going away any time soon. The submarine fiber industry may be looking at a slight lull in activity within the next 18 months, but long-term projections continue to read positive. At the end of the day, the world needs to get connected and no one else but this little industry can make that happen. STF KIERAN CLARK is an Analyst for Submarine Telecoms Forum. He joined the company in 2013 as a Broadcast Technician to provide support for live event video streaming. In 2014, Kieran was promoted to Analyst and is currently responsible for the research and maintenance that supports the SubTel Forum International Submarine Cable Database; his analysis is featured in almost the entire array of SubTel Forum publications. He has 5+ years of live production experience and has worked alongside some of the premier organizations in video web streaming.

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100





n April 2001, Wayne Nielsen pulled together some of the little capital from the recently established WFN Strategies and bought a ticket to attend SubOptic 2001 in Kyoto. His goal? To use the conference to drum up new business and clients for his burgeoning contracting company. What he found, however, were representatives from all parts of the submarine telecoms industry speaking for the first time in three years and discovering that their industry was in a dire situation. Comparing notes for the first time since the last conference, it was becoming obvious that submarine telecoms was a sinking cable ship and every attending company was still on board.



“Everybody knew this was it,” said Wayne Nielsen, president and publisher of Submarine Telecoms Forum. “There was no more work. The installers were busy, but not the guys who were building cable, and you’ve got to build the cable first, meaning you’re building systems that were going to be installed a year later. So, we knew the installers were finishing up later in the year and then there was nothing. There was nothing being built. It’s like everything stopped. And, at Kyoto it became apparent.” The Kyoto conference served as an unpleasant epiphany for many submarine telecoms industrialists. For Wayne, however, it also highlighted what, to him, was a glaring deficiency for these businesses.

“I realized, with this happening literally right in front of us, we as an industry [didn’t] have any kind of place to talk,” said Wayne. “We had no magazine. We had no anything. There was no blogging… There was no place for submarine fiber people to talk about what the hell was going on. I came up with the idea that we needed some kind of forum.” With this idea in mind, Wayne approached Ted Breeze, a design and marketing specialist he had worked with at BT Marine. Together, they had supported BTM’s various marketing endeavors, and produced Soundings, a submarine telecoms publication by BTM. Taking that experience, the duo began planning their new project. “Between Ted and me, we said ‘well, it’s gotta be digital.’” Explained Wayne. “’Can’t be paper, because we can’t afford paper, and it’s gotta be easily emailed around the world. We’ll go to the industry, we’ll get articles from people, and we’ll sell advertising. And we won’t charge for this, because if we charge for this, nobody’s going to buy it, because nobody’s got money.’” Wayne and Breeze split the profit and the work 50/50. Breeze designed the new magazine, and Wayne found advertisers. The final step of the plan was to give their publication a name. “I played around with the idea of calling it Suboptic or Suboptech Forum,” said Wayne. After much deliberation, they went with a name clearly defining what readers would find: “Submarine Telecoms Forum. It soon colloquially became SubTel Forum among readers. “I came up with the name,” said Wayne. “Ted came up with the logo. He did all the art stuff. I came up with the idea of it being a forum. I remember the discussion. ‘It’s gotta be a forum. It’s gotta be a place for people to talk. Literally.’” Then, in November 2001, the first issue of the magazine was published. “We got a name and we talked to a few people – got some people willing to give us an article,” said Wayne. “We got a couple of people to buy advertising… It was nothing. And we got the first issue out in November. That originally was quarterly, and then we ran that for about a year or two quarterly, then we ran it bi-monthly.” Now, after 17 years, Submarine Telecoms Forum magazine has reached its 100th issue, marking a distinguished achievement as the magazine has carved out a special niche

in the industry as not only a forum for discussion, but as a source of news, fact resource and industry analysis. It has become a household name within the unique community of the submarine telecoms industry – whether from a current issue, as reference in the Industry Report, or simply because the annual calendar hangs from an office wall. Since its inception and years of trial and error, finding a form most appropriate for serving its readership, SubTel Forum has settled into a bi-monthly publication with a rotation of six topics – each drilling down into subjects pertinent to the submarine telecoms industry: global outlook, finance and legal, global capacity, regional systems, offshore energy, system upgrades and new technology. “I could not imagine our submarine cable community without SubTel Forum in the landscape,” said Jean Devos, one of the earliest contributing writers of the magazine. “Wayne deserves our gratitude for having launched this so useful media.” To date, the magazine has had more than 250 contributors providing articles on a myriad of subjects over the last 100 issues, according to Kristian Nielsen, vice president of SubTel Forum. “I remember how I discovered SubTel Forum after the dark ‘internet bubble’ age,” said José Chesnoy, formerly of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks and author of the magazine’s regular “Back Reflection” installment. “It was when I discovered that the review was becoming one of the three key sources for social networking inside our community (along with SubOptic and TeleGeography), and the right place to find new, and sometimes disruptive ideas that spontaneous authors wished to share. It is now conveniently filling the missing, rare paper journals that disappeared after the bubble.” Chesnoy got involved with SubTel Forum after meeting Kristian Nielsen, vice president of SubTel, at SubOptic 2016 in Dubai. Chesnoy had hoped the magazine would promote the second edition of the reference book he edited: “Undersea Fiber Communications Systems.” Given his history in the industry, Kristian invited Chesnoy to take over Back Reflection from its then retiring author, Stuart Ash. “I was first feeling incapable of doing a quality article


MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


FEATURE since I am not a historian,” Chesnoy said. “But finally, I accepted the challenge, covering the period that I lived: the epic time of the optical cables.” Lending his first-hand experience of the history of the industry to the magazine, Chesnoy continues to write regular Back Reflection installments. “I find a lot of pleasure as an author in SubTel Forum, and I have written or found an alternate author every two months for two years now,” said Chesnoy. “Sometimes I discover unexpected findings such as the source of our optical cable structure in a drawing by John Roebling around 1870 (STF 92 January 2017, page 56), or that the idea to relay a cable is not a new one but was done during war conditions in World War Two by the heroic cable ship Dacia (STF-94, page 40). And my advice to the reader reaching these lines is to encourage you to enjoy this real pleasure by proposing papers to SubTel Forum. And I welcome proposals in the “back reflection” section. Chesnoy will continue authoring Back Reflection installments that offer historical context and commentary – one of many authors that has left SubTel Forum with what is so far its best readership to date. Each issue receives more than 80 thousand unique downloads. A far cry from its early days and, thanks to its development beyond SubTel Forum’s flagship product, readership is no longer limited to the bi-monthly releases. “When I joined [in 2008], I came in primarily for sales, marketing and accounting support – with the intention of growing the magazine,” said Kristian. “At the time, it was being read by about four-thousand people on a bi-monthly basis, and we didn’t have a consistent month-to-month product. He went on to explain that initially, there wasn’t a reason for readers to view the SubTel Forum website besides when a new issue was released. “At the time, we were only putting out the annual calendar and the bi-monthly magazine, with some very light [online] news. Some web banners, some press releases. There was not anything on a day-to-day basis you really needed to come back to the website for. As compared to the RSS feed we have now, where we scour the internet and essentially act as an aggregator for anyone who needs to know anything about this industry.” For that reason, one of the first steps into making SubTel Forum a true news source was the addition of an RSS feed according to Kristian. “Ten years later, the magazine is now downloaded northof 80 thousand times, per release. We have over 150 thousand hits monthly to the website,” said Kristian. “We have individuals coming – we usually see about 100 thousand unique visits to the website every month. A far cry from where we were a decade ago.”



EACH ISSUE RECEIVES MORE THAN 80 THOUSAND UNIQUE DOWNLOADS. A FAR CRY FROM ITS EARLY DAYS AND, THANKS TO ITS DEVELOPMENT BEYOND SUBTEL FORUM’S FLAGSHIP PRODUCT, READERSHIP IS NO LONGER LIMITED TO THE BI-MONTHLY RELEASES. Among the changes Kristian saw over the course of his 10 years at the magazine addressed these issues, including new annual products like the cable map, almanac, and eventually an independently produced industry report and analysis. At the time he joined the magazine, the digital magazine and the annual calendar were their only publications. The map, which had been produces some years earlier, was no longer a regular item. According to Kristian, the earlier map was produced without advertising, then sold on the website, but wasn’t popular enough to justify its creation. “That was a model that didn’t work,” Kristian said. “We ended up sitting on a bunch of inventory that wasn’t sold.” Selling advertising on the map was one of the first changes implemented after Kristian joined the company. “I decided that we haven’t sold this product in a few years and we had discussions internally on it. We decided that the way we did it the first time was to make the map and sell it wasn’t appropriate anymore. So, we applied the model that we’d used in other products.” “Between the calendar and the map, which was a doomed failure from the start, those are our two biggest sellers to date, every year.” Not all products have successfully made it into SubTel’s publications, however. “Some work, some don’t,” said Kristian. “We had a product a couple of years ago that was an abject failure. However, the information that was produced was excellent.” In 2015, SubTel Forum introduced the Industry Supplement – a new, short-length publication designed to delve more deeply into issues already subject in the magazine. The goal was to keep similar topics that were represented in other products – finance and legal, capacity, upgrades – but this publication would be aimed at creating a resource for deeper general knowledge about different aspects of the industry – providing in-depth knowledge. It was to literally

supplement the understand of the readers on these issues and provide a reference. “The publication, frankly speaking, was quite good,” Kristian said, laughing. “Not a single soul bought advertising for it.” SubTel planned for six issues of the publication, to be produced bi-monthly, alternatively with the magazine. “We produced four editions of it,” Kristian said. “We had originally planned to produce six. When we got to the fourth one, it wasn’t being downloaded well and it wasn’t being sold, and as far as we could tell, nobody was reading it either, we decided to cancel it.” Months of work researching and collecting the information necessary for the supplement did no go to waste, however. “We took all of that information and it helped compile what turn into our first individually generated Industry Report,” said Kristian. “Prior to that year’s report, we’d always partnered with other companies. We were able to take that research and that turned into what we now know as the Industry Report.” “It was absolutely a Titanic/iceberg kind of moment for us, we were able to pivot and take the lessons learned and the research gathered, and turn that into an effective, productive, and well-sold product.” Since the first independently produced Industry report, it has become a product representing an aspect of SubTel Forum intrinsically tied into almost all SubTel publications: STF Analytics and its database. “The report drove us that direction,” said Kristian. “The almanac drove us that direction. Frankly, stepping up the quality in content in the magazine four years ago drove us that direction.” According to Kristian, you can only report the news so long before you have to have an opinion of your own. For that reason, STF Analytics was formed in 2016. This new branch of SubTel Forum relied on analysts, headed by Kieran Clark, and a proprietary database to add predictive commentary for the industry in the magazine. Creating a database, however, hadn’t been a plan or even the original goal. “For my own edification, I started taking notes,” Kristian said. “What was a very large excel spreadsheet turned into a database, which is now turned into a proper, categorized database, which we’ve hired a database manager to manage. It was a necessary step, going into analytics.”

The database, while imperfect because if contains no confidential information, includes the collected public domain information on more than 450 cable systems, with information dating back to the 1980s. “Everything that was in service, everything that’s not in service. Each of those systems have some-45 or so fields [in the database] attached to them.” According to Kristian, it was a nerve-racking, and in some ways risky, move. “It was scary, going on record with prediction and analysis like that, however our research is excellent, and our sources are top notch.” Moving forward, Kristian said that the magazine will continue to serve as a place for introspection for the industry. “The magazine has always strived to become the voice of the industry,” Kristian said. “The magazine provides an avenue to not only find archives for people to find out what’s going on, but also an unbiased medium. Something that can provide the industry some place to find news specific to the supply side of this industry. But, looking back on the last 100 issue, Kristian agreed that he, Wayne, and the many others that work to produce Submarine Telecoms Forum have had a lasting impact on the industry and its community. “I think we’ve helped the industry be more honest with itself,” Kristian said. “I think we help the industry be open with itself. When I first started, 2008, you couldn’t get anybody to go on the record about anything – even ‘sir, this press release came out and it’s talking about the capacity of your new system. Can you comment on that?’ ‘Certainly not.’ “So where are we today? I think through diligent research gathering and news gathering, we’ve trained the industry to the point where even if they don’t go on the record they know something is on the record. If nothing else, we’ve helped them understand as an industry, no response is still a response. In 10 years, I’ve seen it get better, and I have to hope we had some small hand in it. People are actually talking.” STF


A graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications, STEPHEN NIELSEN has been a Staff Journalist for Submarine Telecoms Forum since 2012. He was the Life Section Reporter for Winchester Star in 2014 to 2015, and Staff Writer for Capital News Services in 2013. He was a Finalist for Society of Professional Journalism’s Mark of Excellence Award and has supported blogging and streaming at multiple PTC and SubOptic conferences.

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GLOBAL CAPACITY Is the Edge Moving Again? BY JOEL OGREN 14


Building upon the success of service based telecommunications – I watch (and listen) as we no longer talk just about telecommunications, but increasingly we talk about all industry verticals, and how we can enhance the user experience people and society. This is why the question of connectivity and capacity is



oday – over 5 billion people are connected. However, there are a number of people that are still not connected. According to the figures of ITU reports (2016), there are currently 1.2 billion people living in areas with no 3G coverage. But just as important, there are 2.6 billion people who live in areas with 3G coverage and are not using it. As we look at this question of connectivity in relation to global capacity, we don’t just need to look at the infrastructure challenge, we need to look at the commercial sustainability of the deployment. I am proud to see the sub-sea community increasingly addressing the challenges of things like making sure that people understand the appropriate use cases, show that it creates increasing value for their lives, that the content being delivered is relevant to them, and, of course, that the environment and the affordability is such that they can access it. After all – the global telecom community, service providers, application developers - are the community that created and sustained this incredibly connected world we live in today. Global connectivty – a collection of subsea fiber, terrestrial fiber, terrestrial copper, wireless, satellite, and of course we still have the “sneaker net” in some cases. These provide the connective tissue that networks and applications utilize to provide continuing improvement to our global connectivity – constantly attempting to increase the user experience of the growing global population that we serve.

These networks have been constantly improved and enhanced creating the building blocks of success: 2G services were launched approximately 25 years ago. When 2G was delivered – it was a real a game changer predominantly because it gave people mobility. But that wasn’t enough for the user experience…so next came the evolution to 3G, which started to give us a access to mobile data as well as access to mobile Internet. Today we are implementing 4G in many locations globally and this is where we really start to experience a shift as the industry successfully put a truly global standard in place as well as creating a platform for the development of the platform-based economy. 5G will be more than just transforming – when fully implemented it provides mobile broadband with faster speed and lower latency then ever seen before. It provides the platform based on the ability for integrating people and things in the Internet of Things and all the different apps/services/devices that will traverse these networks.


Now – moving to our favorite topic of subsea global capacity and the question of connectivity. Trans-Oceanic capabilities have and continue to be of significant value to addressing our global capacity needs. While many of the traditional routes are achieving EOL (End of Life) and new high-capacity replacement systems are either in place or under development – we are watching a significant increase in global demand signals from two entire continents – Africa and South America. This is important because we are no longer watching continental coast-based systems with many branches to many countries – critical digital hubs locations – or “digital ports” are now seeing trans-oceanic connectivity rapidly developing connecting these continents due to their burgeoning economies. MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


FEATURE Similarly – we are seeing small systems in development connecting critical telecom nodes, country to country, as well as high-capacity non-repeated systems. In the constant search for global business – now at the touch of our fingertips thanks to the Internet of Things – our global business reach is continuing to expand while making the world feel like it’s shrinking due to the near-instant communications capability in the hands of so much of the world population and growing.


sharing are almost disappearing – creating an effect that has empowered users of these technologies through our increasing global capacity. Users of all ages now connect globally and collaborate, game, and share information with no regard to traditional technical or organizational boundaries known to earlier generations. The practice of edge computing is changing as we continue to redefine the “edge” as we prepare for the innovation of 5G and the increasing impact of artificial intelligence. This means that we have been successful in removing boundaries as we provide constant improvement in services and capabilities provided to our global customer base.

Today we can truly marvel at the idea that A LOOK TO THE FUTURE OF GLOBThe products that traverse in our lifetime the opAL CAPACITY our globally connected world portunity to conduct With all that’s been said thus have made possible a level space-based travel on far – what is next? of information sharing never earth to get anywhere on earth in an hour, Globally – we are successbefore envisioned. and at economy seat fully demonstrating that we prices no less, by 20241. have the vision and courage to While we all wait painnovate and adopt new techtiently for that to become nology as it evolves, often times a reality, we’re also seeing discovering new opportunities and significant improvements in new demand signals along the way. space-based cloud storage and One example of this was realized at the innovate connectivity solutions. How Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vebetter to address data privacy/ gas where car manufacturing companies were discussdata sovereignty issues then to place your data in a highly secure ing that they were embracing the idea that they are as much space based secure cloud capability like Cloud Constellation an IT company as they are an automotive manufacture due to Corporation’s “Spacebelt™” which provides a patented systheir entry as large-scale consumers of data storage and teletem of 12 low earth orbit satellites (LEO) for the purpose com capacity on a global scale due to the number of comput2 of offering space-based secure data storage and services ? ers and sensors in modern vehicles, and what the move to 5G These innovative solutions, and others like them, are provid- means to their business sector. They are creating cost-effective ing solutions that are part and parcel to our global capacity. solutions as they continue to innovate and add additional IOT In terms of our evolving global capacity – technologies capability to their products which are increasingly connected. like these provide a capability that is highly complemenWhat’s next? What I know for sure is that we’re on an tary to sub-sea and terrestrial capabilities and addresses a exciting ride! current gap in our solution set while taking advantage of the space-based regulatory environment. GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR GLOBAL CAPACITY With the topic of data privacy and data sovereignty in the FADING BOUNDARIES news today – increasing awareness (and concern) about storIn today’s increasingly connected world, information reage of personal information is a (global) hot topic. I think we quired for the Internet of Things (IOT) is virtual, on demand, can all agree that we’ve made some mistakes along the way. and global. The products that traverse our globally connected There is much-deserved focus on data privacy and data world have made possible a level of information sharing never sovereignty – so we as a community can continue to imbefore envisioned. Traditional boundaries of information prove the right intent to provide privacy principles and



practices along with our accompanying (individual and collective) technology vision, to ensure that the global capacity market continues to produce innovate solutions that follow disciplined data privacy/data sovereignty regulations that meet the demands of our consumers. We have significant capability in this area – but we’ve made some costly mistakes, and now we’re under a global microscope. To dig a little deeper into this topic, I took advantage of the many discussions I had this past week at the International Telecoms Week 2018 conference in Chicago with a diverse collection of telecom professionals. I provided the background stated above – and then asked a series of questions to stimulate the discussion and gain further insight. While we got into several deep discussions on the topic – two interesting questions were asked: “Will we start seeing data collected by cars with increasing sensors, data storage and communication be used to send me a ticket for driving over the speed limit, or running a red light, for calling or texting while driving?” Or “Will my car dictate what drivers/passengers in the car can or can’t do?” These consumer-based questions show the growing concern about challenges that we may face as we innovate our way into the future. The information that will be collected by our continually enhanced vehicles will sense and store data and analytics (have you read the fine print in the new cars lately?) and can be used in uncomfortable ways. Is “Big Brother” back with a bang? What is our responsibility here? Maybe we should start by reading the fine print.


The capabilities and services that our ever-improving global capacity have developed are being widely recognized as a key to cross, and more often break, barriers. Continuous improvement in how we manage and implement this global capacity continues to enable increasing information awareness – and continuing improvements in augmented reality/ virtual reality (AR/VR) and artificial information (AI). With the new “edge” under development to support the rollout of 5G implementation and IOT, there is increasing discussion that traditional ILA’s will be increasingly replaced by hybrid ILA/small cell edge computing capability. The same discussion has been applied to the base of cell towers. Is this another new “new” edge? Information sharing between the new edge will be another capability to add to the demand for global capacity.

In the submarine fiber optic world – we are seeing an incredible amount of cable projects being announced at a pace not seen since the hey-days of the late 1990’s. I continue to hear the phrase “we can’t build fast enough” – not only by cable owners/developers – but more often by the cloud and enterprise service providers that have become the largest consumers of sub-sea capacity themselves – which has driven them to enter that market as asset owners and changed the face of the sub-sea market in less than a decade. An example of a new innovator in the global capacity market that’s addressing this is NxtVn™ which offering to address these changes by providing a “global cluster of diversely connected data center parks”. Essentially providing the hyper-connected (sub-sea) and large-scale data center parks on the coastal continental edge with a global deployment strategy.3 Collectively – the new “new” edge is being redefined.


Despite the demand signals, and the continued enhancement of the “edge” and improvements in capabilities and services that we provide to our customers enabling them to have an increasing sense of “connectedness”. Social networks have become a standard part of our global lifestyle. The Internet of Things (IOT)as well as the new and emerging capabilities in the augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) and artificial information (AI) world require a level of demand for global capacity not seen before. It’s not slowing down. While I’ve only touched on a few points in this discussion - we are well positioned to rapidly leverage this future technology and fulfill the demands for both increased and improved global capacity. The future is bright…and edgy! STF MR. JOEL OGREN is the CEO of ACA International based in Vint Hill, VA. Joel is a senior information systems executive with over thirty-five years of experienced leadership and management with national and international telecom operations and programs on behalf of industry, Government, and Federal Research Laboratories. Joel has held executive level positions in industry, in Federal Government, and Federal Research Laboratory’s. In these roles, Joel has been heavily involved with the international projects (Commercial, Government, and Public-Private-Partnerships), and the international telecommunications industry in delivering solutions worldwide.

NOTES 1 Digital Trends “Elon Musk’s Latest Crazy Idea” Rocket Based Travel On Earth 2 3

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SAMOAN CELEBRATIONS Tui-Samoa Cable Making Waves in the Submarine Cable Arena



amoa Submarine Cable Company Limited (SSCC) has a lot to celebrate! The Tui-Samoa submarine cable rolled out by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, interconnecting Samoa, Fiji and Wallis & Futuna Islands with a submarine optical fibre system which spans more than 1,470km is now live, carrying traffic and contributing to Samoa’s economic and social development and encouraging ICT innovation in education, commerce, agriculture, finance, health, tourism and E-government. SSCC is a private company incorporated in Apia, Samoa which built and operates the Tui-Samoa submarine cable between Apia Samoa and Suva Fiji with spurs to Savaii and Wallis & Futuna. SSCC also provides cable landing party



arrangements for other regional and trans-pacific international cable systems. SSCC’s mandate is to operate open access and non-discriminatory cable connectivity solutions in order to deliver fast, reliable and affordable internet services, which will in turn promote ICT innovation and development as an enabler of economic growth and social prosperity for the people of Samoa and the Pacific region. “Fast, reliable and affordable internet services are no longer seen as a luxury reserved for a few, but a basic right for the Samoan people who now have access to information, innovative services and applications improving their lives. The accessibility of high quality connectivity via state-of-theart fibre optic cable technology will stimulate Samoa’s ICT

growth and drive our economy. With the support of ASN’s submarine cable technology, Tui-Samoa Cable has reduced the current dependence on satellite and will further accelerate the development of innovative services and applications. SSCC is committed to promoting regional cooperation by offering partnerships with Wallis & Futuna and Vanua Levu in Fiji with the objective of sharing the substantial benefits of Tui-Samoa Cable. One key component of that vision is to maintain carrier neutrality, enabling SSCC to provide our partners dramatically increased bandwidth at high quality and the lowest cost.” says Pepe Fia’ailetoa Christian Fruean, Founding Chairperson of SSCC and current Manatua Consortium Coordinator Project Steering Group. Operations were carried out by the Ile de Ré cable ship, a 143 meter long cable ship capable of loading up to 6,000 km of cable and provided with state-of the art equipment for cable laying and maintenance. The Tui-Samoa submarine cable system has landing points in Apia and Tuasivi (Samoa) and Suva (Fiji) and delivers a capacity of up to 8 Terabits per second

(Tbit/s) using 100 Gbit/s transmission technology. The system also has extensions to the islands of Vanua Levu (Fiji) and Wallis & Futuna. SSCC has secured a significant amount of capacity with Southern Cross Network enabling SSCC to offer tailored solutions to their customers between Samoa and all the landing points of the Southern Cross Network including POP access in Australia and USA. Tui-Samoa Cable is the first regional cable company in the South Pacific to have a portfolio solution connecting regions and offering customized solutions out of Samoa. This solution itself stimulates the digital economy, not just for Samoa but for its partners MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100



across the South Pacific, providing to end-users and partners a dramatically increasing bandwidth at the lowest cost. Samoa’s Prime Minister, Honorable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said during the initial announcement of Tui-Samoa Cable, “Tui-Samoa Cable will help improve the lives of ordinary Samoan people; it will provide school children in rural schools the opportunity to access a whole new world of information and access online education, Businesses will be able to dramatically increase their customer base and aggressively market their goods and services online to the world and sell “Made in Samoa”, Government will also leverage the improved connectivity to speed up its eGovernment program and improve service delivery to our people. The ‘Strategy for the Development of Samoa’ (SDS) sets out government’s vision to help improve the lives of our people, and Tui-Samoa Cable is one of the key



government enablers that will help us achieve that goal. On behalf of the Government of Samoa I would like to thank our development partners, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the Australian Government for their extraordinary support of the ‘Samoa Connectivity Project,’ the Honorable Minister of Communications & Information Technology, Honorable Afamasaga Rico Tupai and members of the Samoa Connectivity Project and lastly the SSCC equity investors and directors.” These significant milestones reinforce SSCC’s commitment to the Government of Samoa’s One Pacific vision as presented to the Pacific Leaders during the Pacific Island Leaders Forum held in Apia last year. The One Pacific vision connecting Samoa and other islands in the Pacific region has the vision of stimulating ICT innovation and Digital Transformation creating economic growth and social prosperity

for all. This vision positions the Pacific to be a key player in the digital economy, bridging the digital divide and providing capacity solutions with a restoration strategy in place as part of the One Pacific vision. “These discussions have been a positive step forward in strengthening Samoa’s ties with our neighboring islands to create a real and tangible regional partnership. It is expected that regional Pacific island submarine cables connecting to Samoa can interconnect to all the trans-Pacific cables to access international connectivity via the Tui-Samoa cable system linking Samoa to Suva Fiji then onwards to USA or NZ/ Australia. I believe it is the Pacific Leaders’ vision to connect all the islands in order to create economic and social development for our people” says the Honorable Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Lepuia’i Rico Tupai. Samoa Submarine Cable Company is also a partner in the Manatua Cable consortium with the support of the Samoan Government. Manatua Cable’s main trunk will run between Apia and French Polynesia with branching units to Niue, Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Bora Bora. A consortium made up of representatives from Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and Samoa will construct, manage and own the Cable. Manatua Cable will have two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 20 Terabits per second. This project will extend the existing Honotua subsea cable in the Pacific to Samoa, Niue and the Cook Islands, bringing faster, affordable and reliable internet services to the Polynesian nations. Moreover, by having Manatua Cable deployed, SSCC will be able to enhance their portfolio by providing restoration through a protected network to their existing customers. Bringing it all together, bridging the digital divide, connecting the Pacific and making its own highlights in the Submarine Cable arena, SSCC and TE SubCom with the support of the Government of Samoa are now constructing a cable depot in the port of Apia, Samoa to service and maintain more than 19 cable systems in the South Pacific region. In June of last year, TE SubCom was awarded the South Pacific Marine Maintenance Agreement (SPMMA), a five-year service agreement between SubCom and 14 cable operators in the region. The new maintenance depot in Samoa will help TE SubCom to support and maintain the more than 51,000 km of telecommunications and power cable systems in the area as well as support regional installation activities. The Cable Depot will be operational by July 2018. “This partnership showcases the government’s commit-

ment to encourage foreign investment. Furthermore, the submarine cable depot aligns with Samoa’s aspiration to position itself as a submarine cable hub for island nations seeking to bridge the digital divide and improve internet connectivity for all Pacific island people” remarked Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Tui-Samoa Cable and SSCC solutions have been welcomed by regional carriers and local operators having different needs in term of connectivity and in term of capacity. Products on offer are IRU and Lease from Samoa to Fiji and then to New Zealand POP, Australia POP, USA POP and Hawaii. SSCC has secured a significant number of contracts between Samoa, Australia and USA. Solutions signed include IRU and Lease from Samoa to Australia (Equinix) and USA (Coresite/Equinix). “The positive sales outcome reinforces that the work done at the Board and executive levels and this great leadership has enabled SSCC to understand customer needs and the regional benefit of Tui-Samoa Cable. We are pleased to carry more than 7 Gigabits per second today after just one month of operation and this is an extraordinary achievement,” says Mr. Pauli Prince Suhren, current SSCC Chairperson. STF EMMANUEL DELANOUE has over 20 years of professional experience in the Submarine Networks industry having held several roles since 1994 within Alcatel Lucent from Systems Tec hnical Engineer to previous Head of APAC and now in his current role as the Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Submarine Cable Company. Mr Delanoue, an experienced innovator and strategist holding both Engineering and EMBA degree from HEC brings his vast commercial experience and enthusiasm to help drive Samoa Submarine Cable Company to deliver the lowest wholesale cost of internet capacity in order to stimulate the ICT market as a means to greater economic growth and prosperity for the people of Samoa. MOLILAAUIFOGA’A (MOLI) SEANOA LAUMUA is the founder and Managing Director of NiuMedia, a multimedia production company specializing in digital communications and broadcast media. Prior to this, she served as Head of Marketing and held other managerial positions at Digicel (Samoa), the largest telecommunications network in the Pacific. Her strength is in branding and data-driven strategic planning. She has been brand and communications consultant to Samoa Submarine Cable Company since it’s inception. The completion of the Tui Samoa cable is a definite highlight of her career.

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5 QUESTIONS WITH ALI AMIRI Talking Industry Trends with Etisalat’s Group Chief Carrier & Wholesale Officer


li Amiri is Etisalat’s Group Chief Carrier & Wholesale Officer. Ali continues to lead the evolution and development of Etisalat’s global service portfolio and network. Etisalat C&WS offers the most comprehensive portfolio of Mobile, Data, IP, Voice and Roaming services. Etisalat has been recognized as the Best Middle East Wholesale Operator, every year since 2007. Ali serves on the Board of Director on a couple of Etisalat’s units/subsidiaries and was previously Chairman of the GSM Arab World and as a Member of the GSMA Executive Committee. Ali is a graduate of Electronic Engineering from Kings College, London University.


From your point of view, which are the main trends currently shaping our industry? No doubt that the emergence of 5G and the services associated with it will play a big role in shaping the telecom industry. On the other hand, operators will have to gear up



in supporting multiple IoT applications, each with their specifications in terms of network quality, latency and technology. There will be billions of devices connected resulting in new reality which will affect our day-to-day lives, but also the network, services and technologies necessary to support it. We are also witnessing an explosion of data and bandwidth requirements. We are experiencing an increasing consumption of content, video, gaming, eSports and soon virtual reality. Many of these applications will require connectivity levels well above 10G or 100G, offering scalable bandwidth, a pre-requisite to success. But more importantly, all these applications will also require low latency to enable a high quality of experience. In addition, operators are experiencing co-existence with mega-OTTs who are serving billions of people around the world irrelevant of borders. This is creating a new reality that telecom and OTT should work together for the benefit of telecom industry.


How do you plan to handle big data growth? We carefully forecast our capacity needs and constantly seek out opportunity for connecting our group operating companies across 16 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa to the rest of the world. Our recent investment in cables namely AAE-1 and BBG, which are in service, are part of this strategy. We also continue to strike major content partnerships by bringing major players to the UAE; and hosting of major CDN players in our SmartHub is aligned with this objective. Etisalat also participates in regular upgrades of various consortium cables that we own in order to meet the growth in capacity demand and to avoid any potential black out from cable outages. We are in discussion with a few other regional service providers about building new connectivity to support our global operations. This plan will also ensure that we can support other carriers in meeting their increasing capacity demand as quickly as possible.



What do you think are the key trends currently impacting our industry and the global connectivity? With the evolution of the mobile network to 4G, and 5G in the future, we are seeing the intelligence and processing being pushed to the edge of the network as far as the customer device. At the same time, in order to give the best experience to the end-users, content is also being moved to the edge of the network as close to the customer as possible. This is not only driven by the need for better customer experience, but also by regulation and data privacy laws, as most countries stipulate that customers’ personal data cannot be taken out of the country. Additionally, with the exponential growth in data and content demand, which increasingly resides on local clouds, this translates in the need for hyper-connected pipes locally between the data centers and internationally to push the common content to the global audience. Consequently, we are seeing a significant shift in that content providers are becoming more and more critical to the connectivity ecosystem than ever before. They have billions to invest in network capacity and infrastructure and operators, are actively engaging to help meet their requirements and build the digital future for the industry. Also, there is a surge of OTT players entering the submarine cable market which has increased over the last few years.

While bandwidth used for the public internet has accounted for majority of international bandwidth usage for well over a decade, a significant shift is now underway.

What is driving the requirement for more international cable capacity? Global international traffic is dominated by data, with voice only accounting for approximately 0.05% of all traffic. Video, gaming and real time entertainment are generating huge internet traffic, which is driving demand for international capacity to new levels. In near future we expect IOT to create huge traffic and further contribute to capacity requirements. While bandwidth used for the public internet has accounted for majority of international bandwidth usage for well over a decade, a significant shift is now underway. Internet traffic continues to grow with capacity on private networks (led by the major content providers) growing more quickly and expected to exceed internet traffic in the near future. As a result, the feasibility of new submarine cables depends on the data center locations of the major content providers. As capacity requirements increase for the customer, there is even higher need for diversity, specifically to address the simultaneous cable outages in order not to impact the QoS offered to our customers.


What are the key success factors in enabling global connectivity? In the consumer business voice and data services are increasingly becoming part of bundles with unlimited voice, messaging and pre-defined amounts of data. This is creating a price pressure on the global connectivity and the explosion of data usage means more revenue opportunities for the operators. The key to supporting this evolution is to achieve the lowest cost for global connectivity as much as possible. To accomplish this, one needs to benefit from ownership of delivery networks and this is the main reason why content providers are collaborating with Telcos to build networks. As a result, there is a lot of upside potential in connectivity, as long as you are happy to put capital on the ground and build global networks. STF

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


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


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Insights from the NVTC Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Committee BY VINAY NAGPAL


orthern Virginia is currently the leading data center market in the world, and the data center development in the region is showing no signs of slowing down. Loudoun County in particular clearly takes the lead in all data center markets globally; however, Prince William County, Henrico County and Hampton Roads—are regions coming up as well in the commonwealth of Virginia. Data Centers contribute over $180M annually in revenue to the Loudoun County every year. There are over 3,000 technology companies housed in the Loudoun County data centers. The tax incentives in the county include sales and use tax exemptions on servers, generators, chillers and server



equipment. For those of you not familiar with Loudoun County’s location, it is located about 25 miles (40 kms) from nation’s capital, and about 25 minutes from the scenic farmland in Virginia. Loudoun County is #1 in median household income in the US, and #1 in business growth in Virginia (according to SmartAsset, 2017). Over the last two decades of so, Ashburn has clearly made its mark on the Internet Infrastructure industry. It is indeed the leading data center market in the world – if you go by numbers, with over 75 data centers, 10M sq. ft. of operating data center capacity, over 1 GW (1000 MW) with another 4.5M sq. ft. under development. Just to put things in perspective, 1 MW can

“GOT DATA? LOUDOUN COUNTY DOES. LOTS OF IT. WITH ITS EXPANSIVE FIBER NETWORKS AND A SWARM OF TECH WORKERS, IT’S A MAJOR TRAFFIC HUB ON THE EAST COAST.” —CNN MONEY power one single-family home, so that is enough to power 1000 single family homes. Dominion Energy has done a phenomenal job of being a fantastic partner of the data center community. In addition to constantly adding capacity, they have various renewable energy programs in place as well for the data center community to take advantage of. Northern Virginia boasts a technically skilled workforce. Huge presence of government technology contracting companies has also contributed to this pool of talented workers. Data Center operators are continuing their buildouts at a rapid pace. Increasing investments in building new and upgrading existing data centers that support the provision of Cloud services is among the main drivers of growth. Other drivers of the data center forecast include growing use of Big Data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) technology and a growing need for data center colocation and managed services. Embracing of technologies like Virtual Reality, video, social media, banking is also leading to more data generation and data consumption. Connectivity is an extremely vital component of the data center business model. It is pretty simple – whatever data comes in to the data center, must go out. The data may be brought in on 18-wheelers trucks with cabinets full of servers, with servers full of data, but it must go out over fiber optic cables, that comprises of thin strands of fiber glass. Each of these strands of fiber glass is thinner than human hair but have immense capacity to carry data. With the latest DWDM technology, each fiber pair can support up to 200 channels with each channel capable of carrying up to 100 Gbps traffic. So effectively you can send up to 20,000 Gbps or 20 Tbps of data over one fiber pair. It is believed that over 70% of the world’s Internet traffic passes through Loudoun County. There are several hundred networks present in this region on which traffic is changing hands, in order

to get to its final destination in the most optimum path. Loudoun County boasts the most interconnected location in the north east, and is also home to several Internet Exchanges, that enable multiple parties to connect with each other and exchange traffic. Northern Virginia is where the first commercial exchange was born called MAE-East (Metropolitan Area Exchange) by Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS) in Tysons Corner in 1992. Since then several connectivity-centric companies have made a mark in the Northern Virginia landscape including UUNET, PSINet, AOL, Equinix, to name a few. Terrestrial fiber construction has continued perpetually over the last two decades or so; you constantly see fiber splice trucks, and road being dug up wherein new conduit systems and terrestrial fiber optic cables are being installed underneath and beside the public roads. Recently we have seen the installation of 3,456 strand fiber cable systems installed in the Northern Virginia region. The region boasts some of the country’s most fiber dense roads and several of nation’s carriers are in this region as depicted in this image (courtesy of NEFiber).

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FEATURE ACCORDING TO CISCO’S VISUAL NETWORK INDEX, THE LEVEL OF GLOBAL DATA TRAFFIC IS EXPECTED TO REACH 3.3 ZETTABYTES BY 2021 AND ALMOST EVERY BYTE TOUCHES A SUBSEA CABLE AS CLOUD SERVICE PROVIDERS, NETWORK SERVICE PROVIDERS, CONTENT PROVIDERS AND ENTERPRISES PUSH TO MOVE DATA GLOBALLY IN REAL TIME. According to Cisco’s Visual Network Index, the level of global data traffic is expected to reach 3.3 zettabytes by 2021 and almost every byte touches a subsea cable as cloud service providers, network service providers, content providers and enterprises push to move data globally in real time. Subsea cables are responsible for $10 Trillion in transactions every day. The rapid growth of data, from the very basic web browsing and e-commerce to streaming of video and Artificial Intelligence, is helping drive a global resurgence in new subsea cable systems. Twenty new subsea cables will launch in 2018 alone, with capacity of ~700 TB (vs. just six launched in 2016). Total subsea cable bandwidth is expected to double by 2021, and it is growing at 40% CAGR globally. Additionally, there are several subsea cables across the Atlantic are reaching EOL (typical lifespan of a subsea cable system is 25 years), therefore new replacement cable systems are planned.



The state of Virginia has recently received it’s share of new subsea cables. Until recently, in order for the international Internet traffic to leave the state of Virginia and reach its destination in other parts of the world had to be first sent to the state of New York, New Jersey or Florida. This is because the “landing stations” where the subsea fiber systems terminate existing only in these three states in the eastern seaboard of United States. This changed in 2017 – with the state of Virginia getting its first subsea cable MAREA connecting Bilbao Spain to Virginia Beach. This system is jointly owned by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius, and boasts highest capacity fiber link between US and Europe at 160 Tbps on an eight fiber-pair system. The second subsea cable coming to Virginia, BRUSA is expected to be completed later this year connecting the state of Virginia directly to Puerto Rico San Juan and Fortaleza

and Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Theses direct international connections will further give the data center community in Virginia more connectivity options for low-latency fast connection to various international destinations. This system is wholly owned by Telxius and will offer one of the lowest latency communication links between two of the largest economies in the region between the US and Brazil. Recently, a third new subsea cable, SAEx (South Atlantic Express) cable was announced connecting Cape Town in South Africa to Virginia Beach, a distance of approximately 13,050 kms. This will be the first direct connection from South Africa to the US, and it will have a capacity of 72 Tbps. This system will have branching units in Saint Helena, Ascension and in Fortaleza, Brazil. SAEx is expected to bring 200 hightech jobs to Virginia Beach. SAEx will further extend connectivity to Asia in Phase-II of it’s deployment. It will be the first system to connect the eastern shore of South Africa to the western shore of South Africa. There are several over subsea fiber projects under consideration for Virginia Beach. A new Subsea Ecosystem is quickly evolving in Virginia Beach. This ecosystem is starting to take shape with the new subsea cables that are acting as a catalyst of driving additional terrestrial fiber and could eventually lead to content-centric providers such as CDNs, Internet Exchanges, and other eye-ball networks to interconnect at the edge, as depicted in the graphic below. In summary, the Commonwealth of Virginia has attracted data centers and connectivity providers from all over the country, and also from other parts of the world. Every major data center provider (retail or wholesale), every major Cloud provider, every major terrestrial fiber connectivity provider is in Northern Virginia, and now with the new Subsea cables landing on the Virginian shoreline, it will further strengthen the position of Commonwealth of Virginia as a major data center and connectivity hub globally, a state truly at the Confluence of five continents – North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. STF

VINAY NAGPAL has over 23 years of global experience developing data center and connectivity solutions with a strong knowledge of Subsea and Terrestrial fiber systems. Vinay has held several senior-level positions at Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros, Tata Communications, Verizon, MCI, Digex and UUNET, developing carrier-neutral connectivity solutions and data center products in US, Canada, London, Singapore, Australia and India. Vinay has served on Open-IX board, leading the formation of standards for distributed Internet Exchanges, and also led the Marketing Committee of Open-IX Association. Currently based out of Washington DC, Vinay serves on the Leadership Board of NVTC Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Committee, and NVTC Executive Circle. Vinay also serves on the Customer Advisory Board of LINX NoVA (London Internet Exchange Northern Virginia), promoting distributed neutral Internet Exchanges, and is actively involved in the Subsea developments taking place in Virginia Beach.

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100



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MainOne Invests in Cote D’Ivoire Landing as an Opening into Francophone West Africa BY FUNKE OPEKE THE OBVIOUS GAPS

Most African countries have internet penetration of less than 10% (well below the 20% threshold critical for countries to reap the economic benefits of broadband investment. While submarine cables have had a dramatic impact on access to bandwidth, impact across all countries in the region is not consistent. But encouraging developments are emerging. MainOne has also secured a license to extend its submarine cable to Cote D’Ivoire and enable it further democratize the international bandwidth market in Cote D’Ivoire and neighbouring countries to support wholesale customers, Internet



Service Providers, Telcos and indigenous businesses. Efforts are also underway to extend access to landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mali through existing fiber infrastructure and other backbone networks planned by operators in the various countries.


According to a GSMA Intelligence report, Cote D’Ivoire has significantly improved on its mobile broadband penetration, from less than 3% to 26% within ten years. This internet leap has enabled the country’s digital transformation and made positive impact on economic development,

albeit driven by mobile technology. By contrast, only 3% and 7% of the population have access to a fixed broadband connection and fixed telephone line respectively. However the gains of mobile connectivity, the country is still severely constrained by the high cost of international bandwidth which has manifested in the high broadband prices. Broadband prices are significantly higher in Cote D’Ivoire than in any other large market in West Africa.


With three submarine cables, Cote D’Ivoire is one of Africa’s lucky countries. There are consortium cables run by Orange managing the SAT 3 and African Coast to Europe (ACE) systems, and MTN managing the West African Cable System (WACS). In the absence of any pure play wholesale competitor, all ISPs buy from either of these two capacity pools managed by the two largest retail operators in the market. While capacity has expanded and prices have declined in recent years, the UEMOA market is ripe for the delivery of open-access subsea capacity and will benefit from having additional capacity options in a fully liberalized market.


Contemporary subsea cables will provide the lifeblood for Cote D’Ivoire and the entire UEMOA economy. This critical infrastructure will facilitate the growth of global connectivity and provide reliable, high-capacity and low-latency transmission to regions where bandwidth is at a premium. With its license to expand national and international connectivity services in Cote D’Ivoire, MainOne is poised to fill the open-access supplier gap in Cote D’Ivoire to strengthen connectivity, reduce international capacity costs and support wholesale customers, major operators and Internet Service Providers. As West Africa’s foremost private, open-access submarine cable, MainOne has a track record for excellence and backed the digital revolution across West Africa with service delivery in 10 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroun, Benin, Niger, Senegal and Chad, attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the region.

Its submarine cable will enable pervasive broadband penetration and enhance new verticals in Cote D’Ivoire such as eCommerce, Incubators and Accelerators, ePayment and eLearning. The submarine cable extension to UEMOA will enable the region via new frontiers, improve access to the internet, and encourage social entrepreneurship and technological development. It is expected to help boost SME growth, entrepreneurship and job creation and ultimately expedite the country’s diversification from a resource-driven economy to a services-driven one (Plan national de développement 2016 20 – PND). Completed in 2010, MainOne’s subsea cable system spans 7,000km from London with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal. MainOne has also extended its cable to Cameroun, with branching units set up for strategic extension of its connectivity into Nigeria’s Niger Delta region; Escravos (Delta State); Qua Iboe (Akwa Ibom State) and Bonny Island (Rivers State). Several possibilities still exist with branching out units along the coast of West Africa in Morocco, Canary Islands and Senegal as options to cater to the expected surge in capacity demand. STF MS. FUNKE OPEKE, is founder and CEO of MainOne. MainOne is a broadband infrastructure services provider that built West Africa’s first privately owned, open-access submarine cable system interconnecting Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Seixal, Portugal in 2010. In January 2015, the company launched operations of MDXi - West Africa’s largest commercial Tier III data center, and in Nov 2015, it launched a submarine cable extension from Lagos into Kribi, Cameroon. Main One has grown to become the leading provider of Wholesale and Enterprise connectivity and data center services across the West African region and the company partners with major global technology companies to deliver services to its customers. The company continues to grow its footprint with major network interconnection facilities, extensive terrestrial fiber build out, regional Points of presence, and delivery of services into 8 countries in West Africa.

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100




A Subsea Cable Changing Internet and Cloud Infrastructure Across the Pacific BY WINSTON QIU


ubsea cable systems are critical infrastructure for global internet and cloud platforms. According to TeleGeography there are now 366 subsea cables worldwide. Among those subsea cables, the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) is one of significant importance, as it is a game-changing cable for connectivity, internet and cloud infrastructure across the Pacific. PLCN is the first subsea cable with straight connection between Hong Kong and the US, non-stop running over 13000km. It comprises of 6 fiber pairs, offering huge capacity up to 144 Tbps across the Pacific, with 24 Tbps per fiber pair. There are now 11 in-service subsea cables in Hong Kong. Only one offers trans-pacific connectivity, i.e. Asia America Gateway (AAG), with less than 10Tbps total capacity. There are stops in the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii on AAG cable system. Trans-pacific capacity on AAG cable system has almost been fully



used. It is hard to get additional capacity on AAG to meet the requirement of cloud platforms which may request multiple channels of 100Gbps in the same cable route. Hong Kong is one of telecom hubs in Asia, huge traffic from Mainland China and South East Asia is transited in Hong Kong and onward to the US. But most of such traffic must be routed to other intra-Asia cables and stopped at cable landing stations or PoPs in Japan and then connected to trans-pacific cables. Running over Hong Kong - Japan - US routes, it not only increases latency, but also makes more possible faults. When PLCN is ready for service in 2019, such situation will be tremendously changed. PLCN will provide huge trans-pacific capacity up to 144 Tbps and the shortest round-trip delay (RTD) of 130 ms between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, more than 10ms faster than any other existing cable routes. PLCN will significantly

PLCN landed in Hong Kong on March 23rd, 2018

promote the competence of Hong Kong as a telecom hub in Asia-Pacific, offering sufficient capacity and faster route for internet and cloud services. From technically point of view, PLCN takes the first adventure to apply C+L bands technology in a commercial subsea cable system, boosting technology innovation. Traditionally, most of subsea cable systems operate at the optical spectrum which is known as Conventional-band (C-band), i.e., 1530 - 1565nm. As shown in Figure 2, C-band occupies about half of the 1550nm spectrum window, while the optical spectrum to the right of the C-band was not commonly used. This part of spectrum is the Long -band (band), from 1565nm to 1625nm. Taking advantage of C+L bands, it doubles available spectrum and hence double total capacity per fiber pair in a subsea cable system. In PLCN, it can support 240 channels of 100Gbps with C+L bands technology. Consequently, it lowers cost per unit bandwidth. But C+L transmission experiments over ultra-long cable distance have not been demonstrated until 2016. PLCN ventured to use C+L bands technology in late 2015, accelerating C+L bands technology from experiments into commercial service. With successful commercialization of C+L bands technology, PLCN wins unique competitiveness with lower cost on unit bandwidth. This advantage will last for quite a long period in the market. PLCN also takes the lead to use open cable structure in a subsea cable system across the Pacific. Open cable structure is an approach to lower system investment while improving flexibility of a subsea cable system. As shown in Figure 3, in an open cable system, the Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) for different fiber pairs in the same system can be provided by different manufacturers. Each party in the same subsea cable system can choose its own SLTE equipment to be compatible with its own backbone network, operate, control and upgrade the SLTE at its sole discretion. In PLCN system, it is equipped with a unique equipment called as Spectrum Manager or Spectrum Gateway, which can split the whole spectrum of C+L bands into various smaller portions. Each portion of the spectrum can be transmitted in a virtual fiber pair and connected to a unique

SLTE. PLDC develops this technical feature into a product called Spectrum. With Spectrum service, a customer of PLDC can enjoy the flexibility to procure, deploy, manage and upgrade its own SLTE. The customer can minimize the initial investment for its trans-pacific capacity requirement, while keeping flexibility and controllability. Spectrum service in PLCN is quite flexible as well. The Minimum Spectrum Unit (MSU) is designed as 5% of the whole spectrum of C+L bands, or equivalently 12 channels, or 1.2Tbps of capacity based on 100Gbps DWDM technology. A customer can deploy one or multiple MSUs in one SLTE. In additional to Spectrum service, PLDC offers products of Quarter Fiber Pair and Half Fiber Pair. The Quarter Fiber Pair is a virtual fiber pair with 5*MSUs. The Half Fiber Pair is the same as 10*MSUs in a virtual fiber pair, either in C-band or L-band. To save cost on SLTE and operation, the Half Fiber Pair won’t consist of a combination of spectrum in C-band and L-band. The above-mentioned products, Spectrum, Quarter Fiber Pair and Half Fiber Pair, are specially designed to meet the huge capacity requirement for internet and could connectivity. In PLCN, there are also offerings of traditional Ethernet and OTN connectivity from 10Gbps - 100Gbps. On March 23rd, 2018, PLCN landed at Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong. The entire system is on track to be ready for service in the second quarter, 2019. PLCN is changing internet and cloud connectivity in Hong Kong. STF WINSTON QIU is Senior Vice President of Pacific Light Data Communication, which is the major builder, owner and operator of the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), the first submarine cable connecting Hong Kong and the US directly, featured with open cable architecture, ultra-high capacity and low latency. Winston is also Founder of, an innovative and leading portal for global submarine cable industry and bandwidth connectivity market. Winston is dedicated to building an open cable community for the submarine cable industry. Prior to PLDC, Winston was head of products and applications dept. in China Unicom Global. He joined China Unicom Group in 2008, being an executive architect on global transmission and IP network, a strategic IP peering negotiator for China Unicom AS4837. Prior to China Unicom, Winston served in China Network and China Telecom for 12 years. Winston graduated from Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications with a master’s degree on optical fiber communication system in 1996.

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100




The England Cable Linking Stavanger and Newcastle Will Provide the Nordics With a New Gateway to Global Capacity BY DAG AANENSEN


lobal Marine (GM) recently completed a Desk Top Study for the proposed England Cable submarine fibre optic cable system connecting Seaton Sluice, UK to Stavanger, Norway across the North Sea. The report provides the project with the optimum cable route linking the landing points and two platforms connections. Seaton Sluice - Newcastle was selected as the preferred landing point in UK. Seaton Sluice has perfect landing conditions for a sea cable system. In addition, Newcastle has one of the largest and fastest growing digital clusters in the UK with multi-national companies, including Sage, Hewlett Packard and Accenture, as well as significant public-sector IT facilities, and major commercial data centers. The UK national innovation center for data will be placed in Newcastle. The city is in the forefront of data science and development. We need to develop the data skills for the future Ma-



chine learning, data mining, data analysis, statistics and algorithms. Placing the cable close to the UK national innovation center for data also demonstrates that Norway wants to partner with UK to develop a more digitalized society and data innovation. Data is for this century as oil was for the previous one. A premise for growth and change. The England Cable will spark innovation among the next generation of tech experts and help businesses across the Nordics and UK capitalize on the immense value of data. Using data science will help industry become more productive. They who use data more efficiently will launch new products and services ahead of their competition. The new connection between the Nordics and UK aims to link up leading academic talent in universities with industry and the public sector to help them develop the skills they need to solve real world problems using advances in data science.

With two new international sea cable systems, Newcastle the cost for cooling a hyperscale data center using green will be a new international hub for capacity. The England hydroelectric power. Cable will provide the Norwegian market with access to 7 The project is ready for the next step. All permitting apTier-1 providers in Newcastle. This will be a risk reducing plications have been submitted to both the Norwegian and factor for Norway, as a large majority of the international IP UK authorities. The Desk top study provides detailed infortraffic is routed only via Oslo today. Our aim is to see the mation of the optimal cable routing and landing points. The next Google or Facebook started in releasing factor will be for the Northe Nordics in cooperation with UK. wegian Government to determine on • 6 Fiber pairs – Express route Having access to redundant global how to financially support the project. • 2 Fiber pairs – Off-shore operations capacity networks is a must in order A decision in Q218 will give a cable • Route km: 722 to realize this ambition. RFS in Q419. STF • 1, 5 to 3 metres burial depth The England cable is an open DAG AANENSEN is CTO of system. 5 dark fiber pairs linking • 40TB per fiber pair (240 in total) NO-UK COM AS, and Newcastle and Stavanger are still • 37 crossings possesses more than 25 years’ experience in the international available. We want to attract large • Planned RFS: Q419 telecommunications industry. datacenter players to Norway, we are • 18 month project lead time He was responsible for buying/ offering the dark fibers at cost-based selling many of today’s active • CLS UK: Seaton Sluice, Newcastle fiber optical telecommunications prices. Cold air, ice-cold fjords and • CLS NO: Rennesøy, Stavanger systems for both undersea and terrestrial low priced green hydroelectric power, applications, and personally conducted business in • Fiber backhaul in NO and UK Norway is an attractive place to 25 countries. He is the Founder of Nordic Consulting AS, providing project support for Oil establish a solid data center industry. • 100G/400G/Dark Spectrum & Gas and Telecom industries. • 5 Dark fiber pairs for sale, cost based The climate is ideal and will reduce

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


8-11 April 2019 | Â ew Orleans Marriott, N New Orleans, LA

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WELCOME TO THE TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION DESTINATION. For companies in need of a top-tier digital technology infrastructure, Virginia Beach is the only subsea cable landing point in the Mid-Atlantic, including the highest bandwidth and fastest ultra-high-speed subsea data cables in the world. With power partners such as Facebook, Microsoft, Teléfonica/Telxius and more, we’re connecting to Europe, South America and South Africa in ways never before imagined. And there’s opportunity for businesses to start using all that speed with a large new data center business park under development.

To learn how you can ride this next generation of innovation, contact Warren Harris at 757.385.6464 or

4525 Main Street, Suite 700 · Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462 · 757.385.6464 ·



Poised to be the host of Large-Scale Subsea Activity



A little over two years ago, the City of Virginia Beach, obviously had no idea of the potential the subsea cable industry was about to drop on the City’s door step. Nor did they realize that it would provide their twenty-five-year-old city owned business park, Corporate Landing, the long overdue stimulus it needed. In May 2016, the Spanish subsea company Telefonica (Telxius) announced a joint venture to link Bilboa Spain, to Virginia Beach USA with the MAREA subsea cable. It was an innovative project driven by it’s Telxius partners Microsoft and Facebook plans to reach their data centers in Boydton and Henrico County Virginia, respectively. Two weeks ago, MAREA became fully operational. Telxius selected its Cable Landing Station (CLS) site at 1900 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach and added an additional subsea cable, BRUSA, linking Virginia Beach via Puerto Rico, Fortaleza, Brazil and finally to Rio



De Janeiro, Brazil. BRUSA is ready to come on line within the next few months. Quick to recognize the opportunity that Telxius was bringing to the community, the City responded with it’s

Economic Development officers attending major conferences, from PTC Hawaii to Capacity Europe, to educate, network and above all, sing the praises of Virginia Beach to attract this new industry to it’s City. Since then, to woo other cable operators and potential data center business, the City has been quick to roll out aggressive initiatives: • The Virginia Beach Economic Development with the awarding of incentive grants for Corporate landing Park. • In December of last year, Virginia Beach slashed its tax rate on computers and data center equipment to $0.40 per $100 of assessed value, currently the most competitive equipment tax breaks in the state • The city has established two diverse terrestrial landing routes: Camp Pendleton, this route is complete and was built for Telxius’ MAREA and BRUSA cables, the second, Sandbridge, which is on the drawing board ready for future needs. • Following in the footsteps of Singapore, Australia and a few others, they are in the final stages of Federal Government approval for Subsea Cable protection zones for both the above routes. This will be a first for North America to date. Globalinx quickly saw the need to become Virginia Beach’s cable landing and terrestrial Meet Me Point for international connectivity to Europe, Africa and South America, by building a Carrier Neutral Colocation, Hotel, with a robust Meet Me Room (MMR), on a campus with enough land for expansion for the hosting of multi subsea Cable Landing Stations. The Globalinx Campus comprises 11.5 acres with the only existing building, which ideally suited our criteria. Located alongside Telxius CLS, in Corporate Landing Park Virginia Beach, it has: • The only readily available existing hardened structure with resiliency features for a quick retro fit. • Built on the highest elevation in the Park at 17 feet above sea level and outside a 500-year flood zone.

• Designated Data Park by Virginia’s power provider, Dominion Power. There is ample readily available power in very close proximity to our facility, fed by two diverse sub

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


FEATURE stations within the park. There are also high voltage power lines carrying over 100 mgw within 50 meters of the Globalinx campus.

Being located on the US coast’ Mid Atlantic Seaboard, the City of Virginia Beach has a lot to offer the subsea industry; the weather patterns are much more stable than its northern and southern neighbors and is BENEFITS much less prone to suffer storm damBenefits of a robust MMR are age in comparison to Florida and the designated cross-connects offering northern routes. The Virginia Beach access to subsea and unrivaled naregion also provides further diversity tional fiber infrastructure serving as —Ben Davenport for Ashburn relative to its northern the international carrier neutral inVirginia Beach City Councilman subsea routes. With Ashterconnection point, with burn’s real estate prices excellent connectivity to now topping over one the US Northern Virmillion dollars per acre for ginia data center marwhat was recently farm ket. Globalinx is aware land, it makes Virginia that network operators Beach a very attractive seeking to access underalternative for the indussea cable infrastructure try at a tenth of the cost. are often faced with It comes down to the old expensive backhaul and worn out real estate adage, interconnect costs, our “location, location.” objective is to provide a The Globalinx Carrier workable pricing model Neutral Hotel and CLS for al users. campus is well positioned to serve as the undisputed GLOBALINX CAMPUS international carrier neuThe first phase, our tral interconnection point 11,000 sq. ft. Carrier Neutral Colo Hotel will commence its build out in the existing for the Mid Atlantic region and is well positioned to take advantage of hosting a number of subsea cables for Virginia premises in May and has a scheduled completion date of 14 Beach and the Hampton roads area. A Carrier-Neutral Coweeks. It comprises an MMR with dark fiber cross connects, colocation white space, electrical and mechanical built to tier 3, location hotel is a vital component of the ecosystem of any data center development. STF N+1, with concurrent maintainable redundant AC/DC power. There will be 24/7 hands on, with fortified security fencing. Both Telxius and Globalinx have agreements in place and GloGREG TWITT is the Founder and CEO of Globalinx, a balinx is currently building diverse conduit connecting Telxius provider of Cable Landing Station and Subsea Carrisubsea feeds into Globalinx MMR. The distance between the er-Neutral Colocation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Greg is the visionary behind developing the first and only Subsea two buildings is less than 600 meters apart. Carrier-Neutral Hotel in Virginia Beach, to support the We are currently constructing diverse parallel conduits Subsea Cables (MAREA & BRUSA) to terrestrial cable the entire length of Corporate Landing Park into our interconnection. Previously, Greg worked as a financial analyst on Wall POEs, to be owned and managed by Globalinx for the benStreet. He became President of the Otto Gerdau Company in 1991 and 2002, efit of our customers to allow them secure low-cost access overseeing the management of trading companies and New York real estate into our MMR. investments, including 80 and 82 Wall Street. Greg’s family owned companies develop and own data center property, For phase two, we are currently preparing engineered apartment buildings in New York City and commercial real estate specializing plans for a standalone multi CLS next to our Carrier in large to medium footprint warehousing. He and his family now reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia USA. Greg holds Neutral Hotel. The need for an additional CLS is driven by a bachelor’s degree in economics from Melbourne University Australia. serious discussions with several subsea operators need for a home in Virginia Beach.



“The Globalinx Subsea Colocation Carrier-Neutral Hotel is going to add a direct international connection for the emerging tech ecosystem in Virginia Beach. We are excited to continue to add the digital infrastructure that makes this place a cool city to locate in.”












WELCOME TO THE ONLY DATA CENTER IN THE CENTER OF THE EAST COAST. The world’s fastest and highest-capacity subsea data cables installed by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius now connect Virginia Beach to Europe and South America, with a third planned by SAEx International to reach South Africa in the near future. And, a carrier-neutral colocation center developed by Globalinx will connect carriers directly to the MAREA and BRUSA cables, which means businesses in Virginia Beach can reach customers in Europe and South America more quickly and efficiently than from anywhere else in the world. Our world-class telecom system is primed for growth, boasting a data center park with available sites, certified power requirements, fiber access hubs, and reduced tax rates on data center equipment. To learn how you can plug in, contact Rob Hudome at 757-385-6464 or

+1.800.989.4567 (US) • +49.2159.5324268 (Europe) • MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100






he first global submarine cable network was built by Scotsman, Sir John Pender GCMG (1815-96) who, in 1864, founded the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Co (Telcon). It was this company that was pivotal to the success of the 1865 and 1866 Atlantic Telegraph. Telcon went on to dominate the submarine cable supply industry for over 100 years and is now part of ASN. In 1868, Pender stepped down as Chairman of Telcon and, over the next 28 years, built the world’s first world-



‘John Pender was a key figure in one of the 19th century’s most important technological enterprises: the interconnection of the British Empire through undersea telegraph cables, a network that Tom Standage has called the Victorian Internet.

wide submarine cable telegraph network through the Eastern & Associated Telegraph Companies. His cables connected the British Empire’s colonies with the ‘Mother Country’ and beyond. John Pender probably did more for global telecommunications than any other individual, but until now there has never been a biography of him or an understanding of the massive legacy that he left us. Now, thanks to unique access to the Pender family archive, Stewart Ash has written one that is available through Oil Painting of the SS Great Eastern laying Amazon. the 1865 cable, by Robert Dudley presented to Telcon by the artist, now owned by ASN During the development at Greenwich and on display in its SS Great of the book, Stewart, who Eastern Conference Room for seven years wrote our Back Reflection column, Atlantic cable were a signifcollaborated with fellow inicant factor in their eventual dustry historian Bill Burns, success. In 1869 he established owner and operator of the the first of many cable comAtlantic Cable website, panies which before his death, connected Great Britain to who kindly wrote the cover Sepia Wash Water Colour by Robert Dudley John Pender seated in the cable hut at all parts of its Empire and notes for the hard copy Porthcurno, watching the first message sent over his cable system to India, in 1870. beyond. Awarded many high version of the biography: honours from foreign govern‘John Pender was a key ments, he was finally knighted by Queen Victoria in 1888. figure in one of the 19th century’s most important technological John Pender kept his personal life private and this perhaps enterprises: the interconnection of the British Empire through explains why there has not been a biography of him before undersea telegraph cables, a network that Tom Standage has now. The Pender family granted Stewart Ash unrestricted called the Victorian Internet. Pender exemplified the best that access to the family archives, and this book gives us a detailed the 19th century could produce, he was a hard-working busiaccount of John Pender’s ascent from his humble beginnings in nessman concerned for the welfare of his staff, and who sought Scotland. A truly remarkable man, he made his f irst fortune public office to speak for Manchester merchants and Lancashire in the cotton trade, then dedicated his life to the development cotton workers during the Cotton Famine. Always a forward of the undersea cable industry and its rise to pre-eminence, bethinker, he saw that telecommunications was destined to be the coming a Member of Parliament in successive governments great development of the second in furtherance of his dreams. half of the 19th century. Bill Burns, March 2018 STF Pender suffered personal tragedy when his first wife died just thirteen months after their marriage, leaving him with an infant son. His second marriage To purchase The Cable King: The Life of John Pender ten years later to the determined visit and enterprising Emma Denison noss?url=node%3D2&field-keywords=The+Cable+King was a turning point both for his The link for is as follows: family and the Empire. The electric e-book: telegraph caught his interest, and his promotion and organization of the companies that laid the first

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


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Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers at AT&T Bell Labs: a Paced Odyssey BY EMMANUEL DESURVIRE FOREWARD BY JOSÉ CHESNOY


hree inventions have made possible the advent of long-haul optical communications: fused-silica fibers, semiconductor lasers, and last but none the least, Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA). The EDFA is one of the most revolutionary discovery in applied physics of the last three decades. It has enabled our present world of long-distance WDM fiber optics, and especially that of submarine cables. The global internet could not exist without EDFA. Few technical breakthrough had such an impact in the life of our generations!* The topic of EDFA being of such a paramount importance, we shall dedicate two articles to their advent in two successive “Back Reflection” issues of SubTel Forum magazine, the first one here concerning the genesis of the EDFA, and the second one about its introduction in our submarine cable world. To reveal the genesis of EDFA, we have the honor to host Emmanuel Desurvire, co-inventor of the Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier with Randy Giles, David Payne and Masataka Nakazawa. After his Ph.D. in Nice University in 1983, on the subject of Raman fiber amplifiers, Emmanuel Desurvire initiated the EDFA investigation in AT&T Bell Labs. Then he moved to Columbia University, Alcatel, and Thales, where he is now in charge of technology watch and corporate expertise. Few researchers have been honored by such recognition awards


everal decades past, I can still remember my first interviews at the (hence) legendary AT&T Bell Labs (BL), first at Murray Hill (MH), then Crawford Hill (HOH). The second site looking modest and decrepit in view of MH with its magnificent pyramidal entrance and hall of fame. Big scale, or small scale?... My choice was rapidly made. I wanted Ivan Kaminow for my Dept. Head. Like Ivan the telecom veteran, his boss the young, enthusiastic Lab. Head1 Paul Henry, had made a big impression on me. Deal!... Three months later, I had driven all the way



as Emmanuel, citing the major ones: the 1994 Prize of the International Commission for Optics, the 1998 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering (together with D. Payne), the 2005 William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, the 2007 IEEE/LEOS John Tyndall Award, and the 2007 France-Telecom Prize of the French Académie des Sciences. He is also Laureate of the 2008 Millennium Technology Prize (together with R. Giles and D. Payne), and of the 2011 European Inventor Award. E. Desurvire, also Sc.D. from Nice University (1998) is the author of over 200 publications, five textbooks, holds 39 patents and is also IEEE, Bell Labs and Thales Fellow. *An updated text book of submarine cable technology can be found in the reference book “Undersea fiber communication systems 2nd Ed, Elsevier, José Chesnoy editor”.

José Chesnoy, PhD, is an independent expert in the field of submarine cable technology. After Ecole Polytechnique and a first 10 years academic career in the French CNRS, he joined Alcatel’s research organization in 1989, leading the advent of amplified submarine cables in the company. After several positions in R&D and sales, he became CTO of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks until the end of 2014. He was member of several Suboptic Program Committees, then chaired the program committee for SubOptic 2004, and was nominated Bell Labs Fellow in 2010. José Chesnoy is the editor of the reference book “Undersea Fiber Communication Systems” (Elsevier/ Academic Press) having a new revised edition published end 2015.

through the US from very first optically-amplified California to New Jersey, recirculating loop [1], made got my badge, my office, me a natural resident alien an empty laboratory in the HOH place. Unlike space, and could not besupervised post-docs, lieve my luck!... This was full-hire people joined in June 1986, I was only here to try things at their 30 years old (Figure 1). own risks, preferably a few Ph.D. credentials gained topics at the same time to at Thomson-CSF (France), Figure 1 - First days at AT&T Bell Labo- keep themselves on the ratories, Crawford Hill, NJ, June 1986 from my know-how about lucky side. At HOH, my a weird topic regarding main mission was made “Raman amplification in single-mode fibers” clear from the inception: achieving transto a Post-Doc at Stanford’s Ginzton parent and up-scalable LAN (so-called Labs, where I demonstrated & patented the “star networks”), by means of optical am-

plification to compensate for 1:N splitting loss. By then, only semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA) has gained credibility, despite issues of fiber-coupling/insertion loss, packaging, excess noise, polarization sensitivity and FDM2 crosstalk (at HOH, coherent heterodyne FDM for addressable LAN bandwidth was THE big thing of the moment). Meanwhile in the UK, a team led by David Payne at the U. of Southampton raised some excitement in the community by reviving the old field of rare-earth (RE) doped fibers. Nothing that earth-shaking for HOH veterans3. Yet Southampton had a view that erbium-doped silica-fiber fluorescence near 1.55 µm had potential for telecoms. Hence, by Fall 1986, I convinced Ivan to get me involved into this. At MH, we met John McChesney and Jay Simpson. A year earlier, they had patented a novel MCVD4 process aiming to fabricate RE-doped fibers with alumina as “RE solvent”. A week later, I received from Jay, through BL internal mail, a brand-new spool of Er-doped fiber (EDF), including this only handwritten note: “Caution, very rare-earth”. This is the way BL worked at the time: no proposals, no financing, no delays, instant collaborations... Then I dusted off from Ivan’s lab an argon-ion laser that had not worked for decades, a 1.55 µm LD, a spectrometer from Julian Stone’s lab, a power meter and a plotting table, along with optical lenses and other paraphernalia. The first “signal gain” measurements were quite disappointing: despite 1.5 W of 514 nm pump launched into Jay’s EDF, the output signal power, while increasing by over 20 dB, never made it higher than the launched input, regardless of fiber length! At OFC’87, Payne’s team reported the first successful amplification

experiment (>25 dB peak gain) with an EDF pumped through a red (665 nm) dye laser (itself pumped with a krypton-ion laser). At Figure 2 – Experimental net signal gain vs. launched pump power, according to HOH, the younger different Er-doped fiber lengths, as obtained by fiber cutback measurements, telecom experts had a after [2]. big laughter — so what, nonsense, just physics, said [4]6. Also noteworthy, BT’s contribution them in happy chorus. At MH, nothing showing the first (807 nm) LD pumpto undermine the “flag” SOA program for ing an Er-doped fiber amplifier [5]. optically-amplified transmissions, SOA Both results [4][5] were however too first, maybe with Raman for backup! modest (few dB gains) to retain much And so much the better for my own attention nor generate excitement. tranquility. I then came up to understand Yet, a new field was born in telethat the overly generous Er3+ concentracoms: it was time to study the physics tion (>5%) of Jay’s first EDF sample prebehind EDF, and make the point to vented any amplification effect5. A second the community, with more practical reEDF spool followed soon. Miraculously sults/performance. Worldwide experts (from physics!), the cutback measurements were still very dubious if not extremely [2] clearly showed net signal gain (>20dB) reserved, like at BL/MH, some others with pump powers (100 mW) quite simiquite frenzied. Not surprisingly, the lar to our UK competitors, Figure 2. young Southampton sophomores met

The two “founding” journal papers in the field [2][3], came out that same year 1987, ours just next to Southampton’s. The year 1988 witnessed the progressive involvement of British Telecom (BT), Pirelli and BellCore, and remarkably, a post-deadline paper from Elias Snitzer (then at Xerox), on 1.48 µm pumping

at conferences did not like at all the seemingly competitive BL’s involvement in their private territory! During those exploratory times (Figure 3), Ivan told me once: “I’m not convinced [of your approach], but I’m not convinced either with SOA”. Meanwhile, at MH, an initiative of a long-haul, SOA-based unrepeated system testbed,

Figure 3 – Early measurements of EDFA gain/bandwidth characteristics through early argon-ion laser pumping (green beam coming at left), using an external-cavity LD (output beam passing through beamsplitter (white spot under thumb); the bright white loop seen thereafter is a 1-m long EDF. See more detailed view in Figure 7.

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100



dubbed “OATS”, involved a mighty task force, experimental & theoretical, the best of BL expertise. Yet, OATS miserably failed to get any (stable) error-free transmission and reach objectives. The EDFA (we from HOH first coined the acronym at OFC’89, if it may represent a leap of faith) was pretty much ignored in BL, if not looked down upon squarely. The Raman fiber amplifier (RFA) was regarded instead as a potential savior (if only high-power LD pump sources could be developed, they lamented), considering the intensive research by Lynn Mollenauer on soliton transmission7. The BL/MH experts and management were quite confused, having to choose between three plagues or dragons, namely: EDFA, RFA or SOA! At HOH, Randy Giles, a newly-hired Canadian researcher in the Lab headed by Kogelnik, rapidly joined “at his own risks”, the controversial EDFA investigation. From 1988 on, both of us had our hands on it “full time”, almost literally speaking “day and night”, some experiments finishing at 3am, be it on a Saturday. Our HOH managements were quietly observing this strangest of all collaborations, between different Departments and characters – in the true BL spirit of the time. Nobody was around to disturb the Desurvire-Giles-Simpson “funny” argon-pumped EDFA investigations and pay real attention our prolific paper sequels! Yet, well-ahead of Southampton rivals, we discovered the slow gain dynamics of EDFA and even measured BER crosstalk immunity in what constitutes the world-first WDM amplification experiment (2x2 Gbit/s) [6], Figure 4. If there was no transmission distance involved, it is



appropriate to refer to this experiment as the invention of proof-of-existence of optically-amplified WDM systems. Crosstalk immunity and EDFA behavior as a purely analog amplifier in the saturation regime were key to all future WDM applications, despite future subtleties regarding the issue of dense channel spacing. Year 1989 represented the second milestone of EDFA history. First, at OFC, Masataka Nakazawa and colleagues from NTT labs, reported

Figure 4 – First-ever WDM measurements of BER in a 2-channel (2x2.5 Gnit/s) amplification through an EDFA, showing 2.5dB penalty (curve at right) due to gain saturation when both channels (A, B) are launched) but no error floor, hence demonstrating immunity to interchannel crosstalk, after [6]

performance in comparison (Figure 5). But for the last hard-line EDFA disbelievers, the worst was yet to come. Indeed, the conference IOOC’89 in Kobe, Japan, had represented their catharsis. How to further resist to evidency: several world-record, multi-gigabit (1.25-20 Gbit/s), LD-pumped EDFA repeated transmissions (all from NTT and KDD), including WDM and soliton, and for Southampton, the introduction and defense of 980 nm pumping. From this event on, nothing could be the same anymore in the home of electronically-repeated submarine transmission at AT&T. Clearly, NTT, KDD and even BT had taken a serious advance on the US champion; AT&T had then to

Figure 5 – Example of bidirectional 807-nm LD-pumped EDFA gain measurements, as dated mid-January 1989, from the author’s HOH lab notebook.

the first practical (1.48 µm) high-gain LDpumped EDFA [7]. Had BL benefited from free commercial access to these LD, then manufactured by OKI (initially for RFA), BL would have been right in the competition! By January 1989, only US-made 800 nm LDs were accessible to our HOH team, yielding somewhat practical, but poor

catch up fast. At Holmdel, Randy and I took part of the training of technicians & engineers from Area 55 submarine-cable Dept. They deployed their R&D teams, led by N. Bergano, who dealt directly with MH for new EDF based upon our HOH design (see next), and modelled/ optimized from our initial papers. In the meantime, and before IOOC’89, Caltech’s John Zyskind from

HOH/Henry Lab had joined core team in terms of responsibility the core team. Together, using a or independency. Then the rumor tunable color-center laser (CCL) had it that the legendary AT&Tas 1.48 µm pump, we accomplished BL would soon turn commercial, two world-records : (i) an EDFA i.e. “business-oriented”. For the preamplifier sensitivity of 215 management, it was the end of photons/bit at 1.8 Gbit/s bit rate the post-WW-II model that made Figure 6 – Record (>25dB/5mW-pump) two-wavelengths EDFA gain measure[1.5 dB better than previous DPSK ments using 1.48µm CCL pumping at 1.48µm, measured at HOH by early 1989 the authentic BL, and a new era record at any rate]; (ii) the most of uncertainties for organization, efficient-ever 1.48µm-pumped research program, people careers EDFA featuring 30dB gain with 10mW without petty academic considerations — and their tight control. Like for several pump [8], see Figure 6. and this is exactly what happened in the other colleagues, my time as princiIn order to qualify our new “miracle submarine-cable industry. The 1.48µm pal investigator (PI) in the field was EDF”, Randy, John and I used both LD-EDFA was hardly a stopgap technoldefinitely over. I will never forget Ivan’s commercial OKI and newly-made ogy, before its 980-nm counterpart; it was disappointment when I announced AT&T LDs (at last!). No measurable the milestone of a new generation of optimy departure to Columbia University. difference observed in performance (with cally-repeated submarine systems — inter- Teaching in the prestigious NYC had respect to Fig.6 results). Colleagues at estingly, but justly-so, called “unrepeatered” more appeal than hanging around in BL/Allentown confirmed all our results for the purists. Our own HOH calculathe changing BL. Besides, moving to right & sound. What a relief !... tions, supported by an AT&T Giles-Deacademia was the career dream of most For the anecdote, at the time of the survire patent8, now licensed worldwide, BL researchers. CCL-pumping measurements, we had showing that 1.48 µm-pumped EDFA-reTaking now altitude, the rest of the an official lab visit of Nobel-winner peated systems would make it across the EDFA story unfolds in a third-phase — Arno Penzias (then VP AT&T BL) oceans at BER=10-9 without FEC, sufficed the worldwide implementation of EDFA coming together with all this staff. As to stir the movement. “repeaters”, as extensively described in they entered John’s lab for the demo, At HOH, in the typhoon’s eye, where [11]. Needless to state here that the unbeknown to the visitors but us three, no noise, neither management voices EDFA revolution — which made the CCL pump failed for a few seconds, could be heard, our core team progressed possible the Internet at global scales and but no more, thanks to an extreme on its own, regardless of the intense R&D virtually-transparent bandwidth — infine-tuning of the cooled-cavity crystal. mobilization in Area 55. The EDFA mod- cluding wireless access, has necessarily Luckily, the three investigators jobs & el got consolidated9, later to get sudden benefited from ever-expanding transmisreputations had been preserved!... community adherence; our primary NF sion bandwidth and reducing channel At this point, we reached to an interestdefinition [9], finally proved right (despite spacing, with engineering technologies ing turn of events. In due arrogance (that resiliencies in the camp of “semi-classical known as C+L and DWM. academia sometimes shows, often abuses), noise” experts and also world-class MIT The term DWDM is more a commerSouthampton forcefully advocated 980-nm scientists [10]), was finally ITU-T stancial trademark than anything scientific; pumping as the Holy Grail, rather than the dardized above our heads. As Jay chuckled it only represents the apex of WDM impure, 2-level-system pumping at 1480it once to my ear at a 1989 conference: (the optical version of FDM), which the nm — just for a 2dB excess-noise figure “The cat is out of the bag!”. EDFA made possible [6], thanks to its (NF) difference. But the stubborn fact was Apart from a few last experiments, crosstalk immunity. AT&T submarine that 980-nm LD were way far to be indus- like final investigations of EDFA R&D got first into long-haul WDM and trially-available yet, despite proof-of-prinspectral hole-burning and my discovery commercial systems. Hence, it is incorrect ciple prototypes with strained-layer epitaxy. of gain-clamping, I rapidly felt useless to view DWDM as “disruptive”, because Hence, the new EDFA-based telecoms amidst the whole company — which, in it is essentially incremental, from the could easily press on regardless at full pace, all business logic, took over our HOH foregoing EDFA-WDM developments.

BACK REFLECTION Only later and quite recently (2007) came the “revenge” of the Coherent Era of the 85s (which was killed by the EDFA), through amplitude/phase modulation and high-spectral-density (bits/s/GHz) transmission. And to top it off, the “revenge” of the Multimode-Fiber Era of the 75s with few-mode fiber transmission… Yet, optical-amplifier alternatives to the now good ‘old EDFA are yet to be discovered... My personal account about an EDFA “A Paced Odyssey” (pun intended), as I experienced it while at AT&T Bell Labs, being stated, probably calls for basic philosophical conclusions, hopefully profitable to historians and next-generations of telecom researchers, and possibly researchers in any field as well. First, let admit that it is rare, albeit not impossible, to initiate something potentially revolutionary outside one’s own specialization domain, usually acquired through a Ph.D. and its laborious continuation thereof, which builds convictions. After going thought this, there will be plenty of people (experts of other fields, like SOA in the case) telling you that you are fooling yourselves. This is a good sign that you bear in mind might challenge the old view. But if having the right view is the prerequisite, coming at the right time is a must. And finally, meeting the right people & working environment at the right time. To this respect, the old, post-WWII, AT&T/BL research model, based upon full-force excellence without external funding (just SFRD aa a systematic tax on monopolistic profits to ensure best future technologies for customers) was not the worst idea, albeit quite expensive as a



research model, One of the drawbacks of this old BL system was to tolerate unfair competition between research sites, and even labs therein (such as within… HOH), while (i) the upper-layer management scored points, and (ii) all the risk-taking laid on the PI shoulders.

Figure 7 – Cover of Lasers & Photonics, showing Desurvire’s early experimental setup at HOH [10]

Regarding this last point, Ivan’s closeness to Penzias (a former PI from HOH!) surely played in my favor… In the upper management, trust and friendship also have a role, just like between PI of different Depts. Such as in our HOH core team, or between Ivan and Herwig. Last but none the least, another lesson gained: research leading to breakthroughs is borne from imperious application needs and rapid technical feasibility. The submarine AT&T needed a technology continuation for bit-rate expansion at lower cost; electronics was a bottleneck in repeaters;

optical solutions were out of reach. Then came people with a research vision — as candid at it might have looked, and who, quoting Feynmann; “did not care for what people think.” Savvy management knows the value of experts’ conservativeness, as well as that of promoting fresh minds in prime areas controlled by the first. To this respect, the model is not lost for the future, as long as these key conditions be met and intelligently fostered. To recapitulate, the EDFA story at BL represents a textbook example of the successful match between research vision and yet unfathomable technology urges. It is no joke that the “Right-choice [long-distance telephone] company” at the time, was taken by surprise in its own research labs, with the “EDFA-solution”. Oh! well, just the result of unabated excellence of innovation at Bell Labs… Yet, the newborn Lucent and its marketing-communications strangely decided that EDFA pioneering research (publications, patents, prizes) never belonged to Bell Labs history. Obviously, they missed my articles/interviews in magazines such as Lasers & Optronics (cover story), “Erbium-doped fibers (bright future) : tomorrow’s repeaters” (Figure 7) [12], Science Watch10, “EDFA, a revolution in fiber-optic communications” [13], Physics Today, “The golden age of fiber amplifiers” [14], or Scientific American, “Light communications”[15] !... To be fair and accurate, not everyone in Lucent acknowledged this marketing oblivion. In 1996, the (US) National Science Foundation published in its “Beyond discovery” series, an extensive collaborative (Lucent-AT&T11 Labs) paper on “Modern communications and the fiber-optics revolution”. Quote:

Figure 8 – Millennium Technology Prize Laureates 2008, left to right: D. Payne, E. Desurvire, A. Viterby, R. Giles, R. Langler (Winner), and A. Jeffreys.

“(…) S. Poole’s colleagues at Southampton, D. Payne and P. J. Mears, and E. Desurvire at Bell Laboratories, proceeded to turn the discovery12 into practical and effective fiber-optic amplifiers.” [16]. In 2001, while interviewed after receiving the IEEE Medal of Honor, Kogelnik also stated: “EDFAs were developed simultaneously at Southampton University and at Bell Labs” [17]. Yet in: no mention whatsoever about EDFA 2002, Physics Today published an interview of Lucent regarding the major BL discoveries: not a single mention of EDFA. I had to recall to the distinguished magazine some book-keepings [18], including the two above references, and the fact that D. Payne & myself received the 1998 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering for our leading contributions to the field. Last but not least, and thanks to the enthusiastic nomination support from Alcatel-Lucent CTO & Bell Babs President Jeong Kim, the Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize (MTP) acknowledged Southampton and Bell Labs altogether with Randy Giles as 2008 laureates (Figure 8). Surely enough, the MTP event surpassed by and large any recognition so far of the role of EDFA in the modern telecom/internet revolution. But like in former Soviet Union, it seems more and more difficult to predict the past. At ECOC’2015, the pagan celebration of UNESCO “Year of Light”, we heard in a keynote from an ex-AT&T-Lucent/ Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia-BL specialist that the whole fiber-optics telecoms history would finally quantum-collapse into a binary pre/post-DWDM eras. Understand: the pre-era being that of “repeaters” (electronical and optical),

and the revolution, that of DWDM. The Schrödinger cat of telecoms physics! Oh, well... At this rate, soon enough, the whole fiber-optics history would collapse as well to the concept of wireless cable. The concluding philosophy, which has no pretense to be a scoop, is that paradigm shifts in telecom science, paradigm shifts are no overnight success stories. They necessarily come through individual, risk-taking initiatives, and not from managed planning nor so-called roadmaps. In hindsight, the 5-step sequence is yet rather straightforward: (i) a more or less unnoticed/popular lab discovery, the very proof-of-principle; (ii) the proof of its practicality/applicability to industrial needs; (iii); a massive research community adherence; (iv) the involvement of major industrials in paced R&D; (iv) the roadmap and field implementation. In the case of EDFA, the 5-steps distance took less than a decade to be covered (from 1987 to 1995). A paced odyssey, indeed, from vision to reality! STF REFERENCES 1 E. Desurvire, M. Digonnet and H.J. Shaw, Optics Lett. 10, n.2, 83 (1985) 2 E. Desurvire, J.R. Simpson and P.C. Becker, Opt. Lett 12, 888 (1987) 3 R.J. Mears, L. Reekie, I.M. Jauncey and D.N. Payne, Electron. Lett. 23, 1026 (1987) 4 E. Snitzer et al., OFC’88, PD2 5 T.J. Whitley and T.G. Hodgkinson, ECOC’88 6 E. Desurvire and C.R. Giles, OFC’89, paper TuG7 7 Y. Kimura, K. Suzuki and M. Nakazawa, OFC’89, paper TuG6 8 E. Desurvire, C.R. Giles, J.R. Simpson, and J. Zyskind, Opt. Lett. 14, 22, 1266 (1989) 9 E. Desurvire, Applied Opt., 29, n21, July 1990 (received April 1989) 10 See: H. Haus, “The noise figure of optical amplifier”, IEEE Photonics Technol. Lett., 10, n.11, 702 (1998); E. Desurvire,

“Comments on [Haus, ibid.]”, IEEE Photonics Technol. Lett., 11, n.5, 620 (1999), and also : E. Desurvire, D. Bayard, B. Desthieux and S. Bigo, “Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, devices and systems developments”, Chap.2, section 2.7, “Defining the optical amplifier noise figure”, pp.152-169, J. Wiley, New York, 2002 11 Undersea fiber communication systems”, J. Chesnoy Editor, Academic Press, Elsevier 2002 12 E. Desurvire, «Erbium-doped fibers: tomorrow’s repeaters », Lasers & Optronics, vol. 9, no 5, p.55, May 1990 13 E. Desurvire, « Erbium amplifiers: A revolution in fiber-optic communications », Science watch, vol.1, no 10, p.3, November 1990 14 E. Desurvire, « The golden age of optical amplifiers, » Physics Today, Vol.47, N.1, 20, January 1994 15 E. Desurvire, « Light traffic », Scientific American, vol.264, no 3, p.106, March 1991 16 National Science Foundation, 1996, Beyond discovery, “Modern communications, the laser and the fiber-optic revolution”, PDF paper to download from: http://www. 17 N. Savage, IEEE Spectrum 38, n.6 (June 2001), pp. 42-46 18 “Bell Labs Had Role in EDFA Development”, Physics Today 55, 5, 13 (2002); cf. https://physicstoday.scitation. org/doi/full/10.1063/1.1485562 ENDNOTES 1 « Laboratories » including several « Departments »; the other Lab was headed by Herwig Kogelnik 2 Frequency Division Multiplexing 3 At Crawford Hill in 1974, J. Stone and C. Burrus had demonstrated the first GaAs LD-pumped Nd-doped fiber laser for miniature, efficient telecom sources in the 1.064 µm transmission window 4 Mechanical-Chemical Vapor deposition 5 As due to RE-ion clustering and also dipole-dipole cross-relaxation effects 6 Recalling here that in 1964, Snitzer pioneered the first Nd-doped multimode fiber amplifier, as pumped with a flashlamp 7 Thought at the time as necessarily needing distributed amplification such as with RFA, as opposed to lumped amplification, such as with EDFA 8 “Method of operating concatenated optical amplifiers”, DESURVIRE, GILES 23/08/1990, US 5117303, EP 0476830, JP 4271330, which got a laureate nomination in the 2011 European Inventor Award 9 As the practical confined-doping approximation of our initial general model, cf. J. Lightwave Technol., Vol.7 n.5, May 1989 10 Ranking, after the Thomson-Scientific Citation Index, EDFA as #5 “Hottest fields of 1989”, after “Cold fusion (#1)” and “High-TC superconductivity (#2)” 11 Including the famous AT&T-BL physicist R.H. Stolen, major discoverer of all optical fiber nonlinearities (Kerr, SPM, Brillouin, Raman, 4-wave mixing and SHG) 12 I.e. the effect of 1.55µm fluorescence in EDF, in fact already known in bulk glass-laser materials from early investigation by E. Snitzer

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100





e are just under a year away from the premier Submarine Telecoms Conference – Suboptic 2019. This is the only conference that is for the industry by the industry and , as such, it is vital that we have a vibrant event. Our industry will be facing many challenges in the foreseeable future, on a range of challenging issues ranging from Cyber Crime to changes in the Laws of the Sea, in addition to the usual suspects! We, as organisers are working on a programme to tackle these issues head on, with relevant key note speakers, round tables and panels. What we cannot do though, is enrich the conference with up-to-date and relevant technical contributions ranging from transmission technology, through marine deployment to commercial issues. The call for papers is out now. This is the only dedicated submarine conference focused on technical matters. We need you! STF


Stuart Barnes Programme Chair 54


BY KIERAN CLARK May 2, 2018 Yves Ruggeri SubOptic Limited 78 Cannon Street London EC4N 6AF United Kingdom Dear Mr. Ruggeri, It is an honor to be hosting SubOptic 2019 here in New Orleans – one of America’s most historic and culturally rich destinations, a city that visitors have loved for centuries. As we celebrate our tricentennial, there has never been a better time to visit New Orleans. Thanks to the support and dedication of visitors and locals alike, New Orleans is experiencing a true economic and cultural renaissance. From the development of a new world class airport opening in 2019, a re-energizing billion-dollar project along the riverfront, to small independent businesses in the eclectic, historic neighborhoods of Tremé, Bywater, Magazine Street and Faubourg Marigny, business and culture are booming. Whether this will be your first time in the city or you’re a repeat visitor, you owe it to your soul to immerse yourself in our rich culture and enjoy all that our beautiful, sensory and authentic city has to offer. Be sure to explore our 1,500+ restaurants from the traditional pillars of New Orleans dining celebrated throughout the years, to the emergent new chefs offering stunningly innovative international cuisine and world-class fusions of culinary traditions – all here in the most award-winning city for food per capita in the world. No place has a better combination of elegant fine dining, food under ten dollars and the greatest mixology found anywhere on Earth from morning till long past midnight, while the riffs of jazz music fill your ears everywhere you stroll. On behalf of the entire hospitality community – chefs, street performers, musicians, bellmen, artists, actors, writers and housekeepers – we look forward to meeting and welcoming you to New Orleans in 2019. We are happy to be your “source for exploration” for the next few days. We hope you enjoy your stay and return often to our wonderful city. Best Regards,

Stephen Perry President and CEO New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100


REGISTER NOW! Bringing together nearly 1,000 professionals from the submarine cable industry to network, share knowledge and ideas, learn from the top experts and exhibit at the premier event for the industry. Register at INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY

Sponsor opportunities and exhibit spaces are available. Contact Rebecca Khoury at

New O Join the

SubOptic 20


8-11 April 2019

New Orleans Marriott | New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Orleans Conversation!








t was great to attend ITW and see members of SubOptic at the members meeting in Chicago. I recently read an article about attending conferences than having to justify the expense to management. I touched a little on this in my last article but for that was directed more to sponsoring or exhibiting at the conference. Let’s look at the Return on Investment from an attendee perspective or the employers point of view. Why should I send my employees to a conference when they could be more productive and contributing to the bottom line of the business by not attending? What are the perceptions of sending five to ten employees to a conference at a destination that is known for enjoyment? In many cases the appeal of the destination distracts from the goals and objectives of the conference. Ideally, the conference is an external workplace that is structured with educational, marketing, and networking opportunities. Most everything is provided to the attendees while on-site at the conference. The conference delivers to the attendees a program, to include facilitated seminars, Wi-Fi, networking opportunities at different functions at the conference.



SubOptic is the submarine cable industry’s premier event, showcasing the literal bleeding edge of technology and best practices. What will you miss if you don’t attend? Can you justify the missed opportunity to your management?

The best way to save is to take advantage of the early bird rates and the $100.00 discount that is being offered by reserving your hotel at the official SubOptic2019 hotel at the time of registration. As you are considering registering for SubOptic2019, the best way to save is to take advantage of the early bird rates and the $100.00 discount that is being offered by reserving your hotel at the official SubOptic2019 hotel at the time of registration. When determining your Return on Investment of a potentially attending conferences, first is to estimate the true cost of a conference by considering all direct and indirect expenses. In addition to the cost of registration travel, lodging

Chris Noyes Conference Director STF Events and time away for the office, as well consider the opportunity cost of not attending. Knowing the all the cost associated with the decision you can better gauge if the conference is currently worth the time and effort to attend. We took a new approach to SubOptic2019 and determined that the conference need to offer attendees a chance to increase their RIO by attending. We have begun the process to offer Professional Development Hours (PDH). In conjunction with the SubOptic2019 Program Committee we are working to have all the Master Classes be accredited and offer 1.5 or 2.0 PDHs for those who attend the entire sessions. The Program Committee has determined the six topics for the Master Class to held on Monday. • Principles of Offshore Oil & Gas Submarine Telecoms • Open Submarine Networks • Advancements in Marine Installation and Maintenance • Wet Plant Design and Qualification • Updates to Transmission Technology • Legal and Regulatory Developments

The Program Committee has determined the program topics for the overall conference and issued the call for papers. The overlying topics for the conference there will be something of interest for everyone in the industry. • Networks of the Future • Wet Technology • Dry Technology • Marine Advancements • Regulatory, Legal & Security • Commercial and Funding • Global Citizen • Oil & Gas, Special Markets We have heard the phrase “By the Industry for the Industry”, it is never more the case than now. We ask that you think about becoming engaged and submit an abstract and share with others in the industry your knowledge. Make learning a priority for SubOptic2019. By being engaged and contributing to the conversation will allow you to gain the most from the session, and others may look to you, which increases your engagement. In a session you should only ask two types of questions: Clarification question: If you are not understating the logic of the presenter, quickly develop a clarification question to gain a better understanding of their point to follow their logic. Opinion Questions: You may not agree with what is presented, but value their opinion. Suggestion this are best left to the end of a sessions. As there is no formal education process to enter in to the submarine telecommunications industry, the SubOptic Conference serves the industry to provide technical professional development resources that lack at other conferences. Professional development

is the process of learning and apply new knowledge and skills that will improve their performance on the job. Continuing professional development is paramount to keeping up with current trends and new technologies in the market. The value of continuing education should not be taken for granted, it’s a commitment and obligation for practicing professionals. Some companies, or organizations require individuals to accomplish a set number of hours or credits in each time frame to maintain certifications or to remain in a position. Ultimately, it’s a personal responsibility of the professional to keep their knowledge base and skill set current so they provide the highest quality service and meet the standards of their profession. A few of the befits of Professional Development Hours: • Ensures you capabilities keep pace with the current standards in in the industry • Provides per to per learning opportunities • Advances the overall knowledge base of the industry • Professional Development opens the doors to new possibilities, skills and knowledge Professional development is often underappreciated by companies, therefor one of the things that is often cut from budgets. When planning for the conference the key is to show the employer the Return on Investment on their behalf. There are several benefits that employers under estimate when determining their budgets for continuing education. Employers need to rationalize the benefits for the expenditure,

not just cost but loss of the employee time. Investment on behalf of the employer is beneficial to the organization and increase the bottom-line. • Collective knowledge of the team increases — Professional development can also increase the overall staff expertise when employees with vastly different backgrounds and levels of experience are encouraged to share information. • Job satisfaction of staff increases — When staff can effectively accomplish jobs, they become more confident, which leads to greater job satisfaction and improved employee retention. The organization can develop mentorships, job shadowing and cross training, which leads to great employee retention. • Increase company visibility — When a company offers training and development opportunities, the build a positive reputation as an employer that cares about its workforce and strives to employ only the best. As an industry that needs to attract the next generation of Submarine Telecommunications professionals continuing education can be used to help promote the industry. SubOptic2019 is the means to show case the industry to world, by high-lighting the program. The opportunity to showcase all the sessions that have been developed by the industry for the industry, with the formal review speaks volumes to the industry. This should be shared with anyone that have an interest about the industry, as this may serve as the spark that moves them to join the industry. STF MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100





ELEVATE YOUR COMPANY. ADVERTISE IN SUBTEL FORUM SubTel Forum publications are read and used by decision makers across the entire submarine cable industry.






Seacom Schedules Cable Maintenance For 19-23 January

Fintel To Invest USD 20 Mln In Southern Cross Next

WACS Services Partially Paralyzed For Maintenance

Aqua Comms Continues Investment, Joins HAVFRUE

Vietnam Internet Connectivity Fully Restored

Google To Expand Subsea Cables Infrastructure

Submarine Cable Outage Impacts Vietnam Internet

Reliance To Build $600-Million Submarine Cable

Ogero Says IMEWE Cable Under Maintenance

Alcatel Submarine Networks To Deliver PRM For Statoil

APG Submarine Cable Compromised

HAVFRUE Cable System Announced CIF

APG Submarine Cable To Resume Operation On April 10

Hawaiki Cable System Half Complete, RFS June 2018

CONFERENCES & ASSOCIATIONS Stephen Ho Announced As New President Chair Of The Pacific Telecommunications Council STF Events Announces New Client, The Campfire Group ICPC Appoints New International Law Adviser

CURRENT SYSTEMS High-Speed Broadband Goes Live In Samoa Bharti Airtel To Buy India Section of GBI Submarine Cable


Alcatel Submarine Networks, HKA Consortium To Build Trans-Pacific System Vocus Updating Networks Ahead Of ASC Telstra Backs Two More Subsea Cables XSite Modular To Build Hawaiki Landing Station HAVFRUE Consortium, TE SubCom Announce Project CIF Kiribati Submarine Cable Connectivity Via Southern Cross NEXT Tokelau To Receive Connectivity Via Southern Cross NEXT Fiji Capacity Commitment To Southern Cross NEXT Xtera Selected As Supplier For ARBR Superloop To Offer INDIGO Capacity To 40 Data Centres SACS Offshore Installation Nears Completion Australia Takes Over Solomon Islands Cable

Colt Data Centers Expand On Demand Services In Asia

WFN Strategies To Support Kativik Cable Survey

Liquid Telecom Invests $110m In DataCenter Expansion

SACS Submarine Cable Makes Landfall In Brazil

ROOT Data Center Adds GTT PoP in Montreal

Chile Begins Work On ‘Fibra Optica Austral’ Project

New Google Cloud Data Center Being Built In Osaka

CNMC Deregulates Spain-Canary Island Cable Fugro To Survey HAVFRUE Cable Route PCCW Global To Link Rodrigues With Submarine Cable EAUFON Call for Marine Survey Tenders Posted



TECHNOLOGY & UPGRADES Ciena GeoMesh Extreme Helps Operators Double Capacity Xtera Announces Successful Interoperability With Infinera OFS Introduces TeraWave SCUBA 125 Optical Fiber

STATE OF THE INDUSTRY US Bill Bars Govt Contractors From Huawei, ZTE Tech Vocus To Restructure Enterprise And Wholesale Arms Globalinx Data Centers To Build New Carrier-Neutral Data Center Campus in Virginia Beach Tampnet Selects GTT Communications For Transatlantic Connectivity MainOne Partners With WACREN For Education Hexatronic Wins Submarine Cable Orders GTT To Acquire Interoute Samoa Cable Moves Excite Cabinet Minister TE SubCom, SSCC To Build New Cable Depot Work For $5m Submarine Cable Depot Begins Xtera Names Keith Henderson CEO, Leigh Frame COO

SUBTEL FORUM Submarine Cable Almanac – Issue 25 Now Available

SUBOPTIC SubOptic Association Announces Theme For 2019 Conference Registration Opens For SubOptic 2019 STF

MAY 2018 | ISSUE 100




love writing this piece, though daunting it may be at times. I started writing the Advertisers’ Corner a handful of years ago with two goals in mind: the first is to show you what goes on behind the scenes here at SubTel, and the second is to address advertising decision makers directly. Often, I sit down to write this piece with a salient idea in mind, a grain of sand to form a pearl around, so to speak. Over the last 8 months we’ve undergone some significant changes, most of which we’ve discussed at length. We’ve brought on new talent in every single department – from editorial content, to analytical pieces, and even design work. SubTel Forum has undergone a polar shift in design, tone and content. With all these changes, I’ve hoped to steer our publications with the same tenants and core strategies in mind, maintaining our “voice of the industry” credentials. It’s a moniker that we take quite seriously. I can happily report that, now nearly a full year in to our redesign, we have genuine, quantifiable results that our approach is working. Some quick figures – As compared to one year ago: • Magazine downloads are up 18.1% • Web hits are up 41.7% • Unique visitors to SubTel Forum are up 41.5% • The SubTel Forum site now sees on average 112,000 unique visits every month, an average of 12-14 times



a month. We now see well over 11 Million hits a year. • We executed our rebranding strategy to provide a better product to our readers, and in turn our advertisers. With these results in mind, I feel we’ve accomplished that. There’s not time to rest on these laurels, mind you. We are still off to bigger and better things! Next up we will release our newest publication: The SubTel Forum Online Subma-

AS COMPARED TO ONE YEAR AGO: • Magazine downloads are up 18.1% • Web hits are up 41.7% • Unique visitors to SubTel Forum are up 41.5% • The SubTel Forum site now sees on average 112,000 unique visits every month, an average of 12-14 times a month. We now see well over 11 Million hits a year. • We executed our rebranding strategy to provide a better product to our readers, and in turn our advertisers. With these results in mind, I feel we’ve accomplished that. rine Cable Map. You’re well versed with the quality publications that come directly from the Cable Database, such as the Industry Report and Almanac, we’re adding a brand new interactive publication to that list. The Online Submarine Cable Map will be available on the SubTel Forum website and completely

accessible to anyone. The data available to the user is, quite frankly, leaps and bounds beyond what you can find anywhere else. I’m very pleased to say that in this map, you will find Kristian Nielsen Vice President the most current and accurate data available. Such publications are not possible without the financial and editorial support of our sponsors. We have had many sponsors over the years, some come and go, others have been with us since the beginning. If you haven’t been featured in SubTel Forum, or it’s been a while, I bid you look at our 2018 Media Kit, our reach in this industry is without equal. As always, advertising in multiples gets you access to special discounts, and in 2018 will also give you the bonus of direct marketing to the SubTel readership including a company specific survey and e-mailer. Choose SubTel Forum to represent your company, you will not be disappointed with the results. STF Loyally yours,

Kristian Nielsen Vice President







STF ANALYTICS MAINTAINS SOME OF THE SHARPEST ANALYTICAL TOOLS IN THE INDUTRY. • SubTel Forum News Feed • Submarine Cable Almanac • Submarine Telecoms Industry Report • Cables of the World Map DIVE DEEPER WITH CUSTOM REPORTING • Global Cableship Market Report • Global & Regional Reports

WWW.STFANALYTICS.COM Contact Kieran Clark:

Profile for Submarine Telelecoms Forum

SubTel Forum Magazine #100 - Global Capacity  

Submarine Telecoms Forum Magazine is a free, bimonthly trade journal focused on the submarine cable industry. The magazine has seen continuo...

SubTel Forum Magazine #100 - Global Capacity  

Submarine Telecoms Forum Magazine is a free, bimonthly trade journal focused on the submarine cable industry. The magazine has seen continuo...

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