SubTel Forum Magazine #101 - Regional Systems

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elcome to the 101st edition of Submarine Telecoms Forum magazine, our Regional Systems Issue. Like lots in our industry, our northern hemisphere summer has been an especially busy time. Best laid plans to mobilize personnel early to the Arctic before personal ‘pleasure’ trips have had to evolve to ever changing schedules. Training suffered, plans altered, but in early June I still ran my 24th marathon, this one on Easter Island and in memory of Mrs. Warnamont, my 5th grade teacher at Maude Johnson Elementary in Rockford, Illinois, who read aloud “Aku Aku” and in so doing started a 50-year quest to come to this special place and retrace some of the steps of Thor Heyerdahl. A thousand years of Akus whispered to me in the breeze after the 1,700-foot climb from Anakena; hundreds of moai lent me their mana - and I endured and completed the single hardest marathon of my life. I typically await July for the arrival of the Tour de France, but this year I can only catch delayed snippets for its first week or so, as I traveled to Rwanda to visit the school we sponsor, Rwamagana Lutheran School, tour the country’s many amazing and incredibly sad sites, and learn some hard-taught lessons on the fragility of humanity. But I also learn the effectiveness of a simple tennis ball, a trick my dad would do years ago with the kids in Mexico, and my wife and I hand-out


one to many throughout the countryside and in some cases, play for a while. We spend hours talking with kids we previously sponsored, now young adults, who are attending college and have many questions on what to do next and no one to talk to, and I find myself answering questions, offering advice, realizing we’re not yet done with these guys, and they thank us repeatedly and ask what we want in return, and we say simply for them to succeed. I give them copies of our cable

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 | map, explain the world’s inter-connectedness, and hope this technological revolution I am a part of means their home will never again experience such self-caused mass murder. July is a transformative month. July is also typically a difficult issue for our planners, as most people are taking a well-deserved break. But this year several authors ‘volunteered’ their time and wise thoughts to accomplish some really excellent articles, discussing developments in the Pacific, Atlantic and elsewhere. Kudos to you authors; please enjoy what’s left of your break. We hope you’ll agree that this is another excellent issue, discussing some really important topics. STF Good reading,


Allan Green, Christopher Noyes, Emmanuel Desurvire, Jose Chesnoy, Keith Russell Shaw, Kieran Clark, Kristian Nielsen and Stuart Barnes


Andrew Oon, Antonio Nunes, Arunachalam Kandasamy, Chris Bayly, Derek Cassidy, George Samisoni, Hubert Souisa, Joensuu Jukka-Pekka, John Melick, Larry Schwartz and Leigh Frame

NEXT ISSUE: September 2018 – Offshore Energy 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



CONTEN TS features





Chris Bayly



Antonio Nunes

George Samisoni








Larry Schwartz and Leigh Frame





Joensuu Jukka-Pekka



Derek Cassidy

Arunachalam Kandasamy



departments EXORDIUM........................................................ 2 ANALYTICS........................................................ 6 BACK REFLECTION........................................... 48 FROM THE PROGRAMME COMMITTEE............... 56

FROM THE CONFERENCE DIRECTOR.................. 60 SUBMARINE CABLE NEWS NOW....................... 64 ADVERTISER CORNER...................................... 66



REGIONAL SYSTEMS OUTLOOK Settling into Cruising Speed


ast year was undoubtedly one of the of their infrastructure plans? A slow Welcome to SubTel Forum’s annual most productive the submarine fiber down in demand? Or did the industry Regional Systems issue. This month, industry has had since before the simply peak last year and is now setwe’ll take a brief look at system progindustry crash of the early 2000s. After tling into a more comfortable cruising ress around the world and talk a little a disappointing 2016 – which saw only speed? bit about some of the challenges the 6 new systems and 35,000 kilometers of new cable – implementing 15 new systems and reaching the 100,000 kilome'2018' 30 ters mark again was a welcome change in 2017. '2017' 25 However, with 2018 more than half over it is clear that 20 industry is not able to sustain that level of output. By year’s 15 end, we will have added only 10 57,000 kilometers of new cable which, while still signifi5 cantly better than anything compared to 2011-2016, is 0 '2017' '2018' '2019' '2020' still a far cry from last year. So, the question is: Why? Is it Over-The-Top (OTT) Figure 1: Systems Announced RFS by Year, 2017-2020 providers reaching the end



submarine telecoms industry faces. The data used in this article is obtained from the public 200000 '2018' domain and is tracked by the ever evolving STF Analytics da'2017' 150000 tabase, where products like the Almanac, Cable Map, Online Cable Map and Industry Report 100000 find their roots. At the time of our last Re50000 gional Systems edition, 30 systems were set to be Ready For 0 Service (RFS) in 2017, 18 sys'2017' '2018' '2019' '2020' tems in 2018, and 9 systems in 2019. One year later, those numbers have changed to 15 systems in 2017, 15 systems in 2018, 18 Figure 2: Announced KMS Added by Year, 2017-2020 systems in 2019 and 18 systems in 2020. While 2017 saw a dramatic reduction of planned systems, several of those systems Transpacific simply slipped to 2018 and later rather than dying outright. Transatlantic However, a continued surge of planned systems through 2020 Indian Ocean have been observed. Overall — and despite the large shortfall EMEA in 2017 — there has been a 16 per cent increase in systems Arctic under development since our last edition. This is half of the AustralAsia growth rate from a year ago and indicates a potential slowdown Americas in system development. Of the systems scheduled to be RFS in 2018, only 3 have Figure 3: Systems Announced RFS by Region, 2018-2020 been put into service. From the remaining 2018 projects 3 systems Looking ahead to 2019, only 5 systems ber of systems under development, have completed their marine surveys, have completed their marine survey, there is a noticeable increase in the another 3 have completed cable manu- 1 system has completed the manufacnumber of planned kilometers of cable facturing and 2 other systems proturing process, and the remaining 12 added to the global infrastructure jected to be RFS this year have been systems are still in the pre-engineering compared to last year’s data. While installed. The remaining 4 systems phase. 2017 saw a nearly 60,000 kilometers remain in the pre-engineering phase. Alongside the increase in the numdecrease compared to estimates from a JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101





the Americas. Between a slew of transoceanic cables across the Pacific and Atlantic as well as several major systems connecting North America to South America and the Caribbean, the Americas, Transatlantic and Transpacific regions account for 58 per cent '2017'


of all planned system activity through 2020. (Figure 3) This is almost entirely driven by OTT providers who want to connect their data centers in the United States, South America, Europe, East and Southeast Asia. As large tech companies continue to expand their







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year ago, there were still over 100,000 kilometers of cable installed – the first time this milestone has been reached in several years. Planned kilometers for 2018 also saw a noticeable decrease, reducing from 88,500 to 61,000 compared to last year, unfortunately preventing the industry from hitting the 100,000 mark two years in a row. (Figure 2) Much of this reduction in activity is likely due to too many projects being planned at once as system manufacturers and installers can only handle so much each year. Additionally, the apparent slowdown in activity from OTT providers – who are heavy market drivers and seem to operate on a 2 to 3-year cycle – and potential overabundance of capacity along major cable routes has brought demand down from the 2017 high. Looking ahead, estimates for 2019 have improved only slightly, from 75,000 estimated kilometers last year to 90,000 today. So, while the number of new systems planned for 2019 have doubled since last year the number of planned kilometers has not also doubled due to most systems planned for 2019 being smaller, intra-regional systems. Looking even further ahead, systems planned for 2020 add over 140,000 kilometers to projected cable additions and provides more evidence towards a 2 to 3-year boom and bust cycle. (Figure 1) Overall, there has been a 12 per cent increase in planned kilometers over a 4-year period compared to a year ago. Most of the growth over the next several years focuses around


Figure 4: Current Capacity vs Planned Capacity by Region

No Yes

Figure 5: CIF Rate, 2018-2020

capabilities, they will continue to push these 3 regions to the top of the pile. The bulk of this new OTT activity is planned for 2020. Conversely, the AustralAsia region has halved its planned activity compared to one year ago. Long the shining example of rapid regional growth, most of the island nations in the Pacific have now been connected thus reducing the need for new projects. There is still a healthy amount of activity planned, but it is nowhere near the explosive growth the region has enjoyed over the last decade. The EMEA and Indian Ocean Pan East-Asian regions have largely plateaued and are not expected to see any large swings in activity in the near future, while Arctic exploration continues to rise at a steady pace. These days, the name of the game is connecting data centers rather than countries. As a result, expect to see the most activity between East Asia and the United States, Europe and the United States and between North and South America. Global capacity is projected to increase by 91 per cent through 2020. Except for the Indian Ocean PanEast Asian region, every region in the world is expected to vastly increase its existing capacity. The Transpacific region has a 289 per cent increase planned and the Arctic has a 400 per cent increase planned, while the rest of the regions are currently planned for a 75-90 per cent increase. (Figure 4) Such a massive bandwidth increase over a relatively short period of time is made possible by the cutting-edge technology available to system owners today. With 100G wavelength tech-

nology being the minimum standard, 150G and 200G beginning to enter service and 400G potentially available for commercial use in the near future, these capacity totals could skyrocket even higher. Additionally, the continued adoption of cloud services and the need to mirror content all over the world will continue to drive bandwidth demand through the roof – though it remains to be seen if that translates into additional new systems or route kilometers. With the advent of new upgrade technologies and equipment being implemented that can use far more channels than before by utilizing the L band, it is possible that fewer new systems will be required to address bandwidth demands. While all this data seems very promising, reality settles in when looking at the percentage of systems that are contract-in-force, or CIF. There are 66 systems planned globally through 2020 and 43 per cent have achieved this milestone. (Figure 5) This is the first real determination of whether a system will ever see the light of day, and so expectations must be adjusted when CIF rates are observed. With this year being more than half over, only 60 per cent of planned systems for 2018 are CIF. While this is a large increase over the same time last year – where only 46 per cent of systems planned for 2017 had reached the CIF milestone – that still means there are several systems this year that will likely miss their RFS date. Overall, CIF rates are the same as they were a year ago, indicating no major shifts one way or the other. While all indications point to a

slowdown compared to the industry high point of 2017, there are still some bright spots to be had. The number of new systems being installed per year looks to stay in the double digits for the foreseeable future and the days of 30,000 kilometers of cable added per year being the best you could hope for seem to be behind us. However – and at the risk of sounding like a broken record – it remains to be seen what the longterm plans of the OTT providers are. It is encouraging to see some new players enter the market recently (Amazon) but there is still some concern that the industry has put all its eggs in one basket, so to speak. Taking the long-term view provides some reassurance as people will always need more data and more ways to connect and that’s where the submarine fiber industry comes in. We’ve not necessarily lost momentum but may instead be settling into a more comfortable – and sustainable – cruising speed. 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.

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How the Convergence of Subsea Cable and Terrestrial Infrastructure Serves the Demands of Both International and Regional Connectivity


isco predicts that by 2020, 68 percent of all cloud workloads will be in public cloud data centres, 32 percent of the cloud workloads will be in private cloud data centres, and annual global cloud IP traffic will reach approximately 14.1 ZB, up from 3.9 ZB per year just one year ago. The cloud, of course, exists largely under the ocean, meaning the globalisation of business and enterprise communications relies more and more upon new and existing subsea cables to deliver much-needed cloud connectivity and move data traffic to established and emerging markets. Moreover, we can anticipate that terrestrial extensions of existing subsea networks, stubbed branching units to facilitate future extensions of cable systems, and even niche cable builds serving regional markets will become necessary to keep pace with the relentlessly growing demands of cloud and OTT content providers. From a technical perspective, the advent of coherent technology, software-defined networking and 8QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) technology will all contribute to subsea cable systems’ ability to extend longhaul network capacity to meet the present and future needs of web-scale customers. Additionally, as OTT content and cloud service providers continue to move increasingly massive amounts of data, we’re witnessing a convergence between all layers of infrastructure, including submarine cable, colocation facilities, data centres, and long distance terrestrial and metro fibre. In this way, the convergence of subsea cable and terrestrial infrastructure is serving the demands of both international and regional connectivity. The major driver of the convergence of subsea and terrestrial infrastructure is data centre to data centre interconnectivity, along with a shift in where data centres are located and where submarine cables land. While data centres were initially located close to end users in densely populated cities, this is decreasingly the case. Today, facilities are being built far away from cities to take advantage of more favorable regulatory environments, green, low cost energy and real estate, and tax benefits. But whether a data centre is located in Denmark, Dublin, or New Jersey, U.S., the diversity, reliability and resiliency of a network ultimately determines the quality of the end-user experience. To enable users to have access to content stored in remote data centres necessitates high-speed network connectivity, which drives new submarine cable builds and extensions of existing systems. Large data centres situated far from major metro areas, which then connect to inland terrestrial networks to enable users access to the content within these facilities, challenges the traditional model of landing subma-

THE MAJOR DRIVER OF THE CONVERGENCE OF SUBSEA AND TERRESTRIAL INFRASTRUCTURE IS DATA CENTRE TO DATA CENTRE INTERCONNECTIVITY, ALONG WITH A SHIFT IN WHERE DATA CENTRES ARE LOCATED AND WHERE SUBMARINE CABLES LAND. rine cables in or very close to cities. In other cases, landing new submarine cables in or nearby large cities is preferable, provided the data centres are located near these cities. For submarine cables targeted primarily at data centre interconnectivity (DCI) applications, moving Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE) out of traditional Cable Landing Stations (CLS) and directly into the data centre is preferable from a number of perspectives. While some equipment will remain in the CLS, such as Power Feed Equipment (PFE), this is a viable option when using the latest generation of SLTE that is capable of crossing vast transoceanic distances with sufficient remaining margin to go hundreds of kilometers further inland on both ends of a submarine cable. Data that begins its global journey from across an ocean is thereby delivered locally. Given the Point of Presence (PoP) to PoP nature of DCI connectivity, all parts of the end-to-end network must be seamlessly interconnected. In the past, when networks were comprised of SLTE and the two Cable Landing Stations, systems were extended from the CLS out to the PoPs, or carriers routed to the cable from the PoPs, and there was always an interface point for the optical equipment to extend that reach. This necessitated more complex equipment located in the CLS, which then required support by an operational staff. Additionally, if regenerating in the cable landing stations, the cable owner-operator would need to purchase expensive, duplicate transmission equipment.


As always in the business of connectivity, cost is the major factor driving DCI. By being able to connect data centre to data centre without intermediate interfaces, subsea cable owner-operators can significantly reduce the price of JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


FEATURE 10G, 100G, or terabytes capacities for companies seeking the lowest cost per bit. It’s essential that the data centres a subsea cable system connects to are well-served with terrestrial networks, and that within the data centres, their cross-connects and extended local loops are sufficiently robust too. Hence, in the early stages of a network, it’s critical to enable the routes that are most commonly used by carriers, OTT content providers, cloud-based networks, global data centres, financial services companies, and the global media. As a subsea network’s usage increases and enquiries come from other data centres, cable owner-operators then begin to look at “PoPing” other locations. Unlike the subsea cable systems of the past which were point-to-point systems with a definite termination point in the CLS, today’s cables can terminate in multiple data centres, and in the case of transatlantic and transpacific systems, multiple facilities on either side of the ocean. Also, because of advances in fibre optic technology, cable owner-operators can take parts of the spectrum and terminate them in different facilities, so there’s no definitive endpoint, but rather multiple endpoints. When a subsea cable owner-operator is deliberating which data centres to interconnect to, there are several criteria at play. The first is the cost of power and colocation, a monthly recurring charge which can be significant. A data centre also needs to be in a location where there are sufficient terrestrial network providers, and, equally important, where the cost of these networks is optimal. Another factor is the cost of cross-connects, which varies significantly. Many wholesale colocation facilities now offer customers access to multiple telecommunications providers inside their data centres. Cross-connect fees are monthly charges associated with these connections that are billed to the customer. There is usually one charge for each connection to the telecom carriers. Frequently, the cross-connect charges are based on the type of connection — fibre or copper —

while in other instances they are flat fees or fees based on the size of the circuit. In many facilities, every time a cable owner-operator turns up a customer, a fee is involved. These monthly fees can quickly become burdensome, especially when a customer has many connections to the Internet, remote branch offices, clients, partners and vendors. A few wholesale data centres offer multiple carriers in a carrier-neutral facility with no cross-connect fees. For customers with multiple telecom connections, eliminating cross-connect fees translates into large savings for all involved parties, including the subsea cable owner-operator. Customers can move the hub of their networks to these no cross-connect fee facilities and build a flexible, resilient network with no financial restrictions on the number of carriers they choose to employ. Another determining factor is the occupants of the data centre itself. A subsea cable owner-operator wants to interconnect to data centres where it has the ability to market its infrastructure services to key players in the industry, and to do so requires they are located in the same building. Once again, DCI offers an advantage in this respect. Compared to CLS to CLS networks that terminate in one place and therefore provide a limited customer base, one of the inherent benefits of DCI is that it automatically enables access to a larger footprint of customers. Once again, this is because the network that is being built data centre to data centre offers multiple termination points, rather than a point-to-point system. While subsea cables are massive pipes, the selection of the data centre provider or providers to host the system at both ends of the cable is critical. The capacity available on a given cable system is of no utility to anyone without these gateways.





Let’s take a brief look at a burgeoning market which demonstrates the convergence of subsea and terrestrial

infrastructure, as well as the interplay of international and regional connectivity involving subsea cable, data centres, and the needs of OTT and cloud providers, carriers, IP networks and enterprise customers: Scandinavia. As a result of reduced energy taxation policies, the availability of renewable power resources, a cold climate that reduces cooling costs, as well as an abundance of brownfield and greenfield sites and an extensive and reliable fibre network, Scandinavia has become a region of choice for hyperscalers seeking new locations to begin new data centre construction. Though currently perceived as a Tier 2 data centre market, connectivity improvements are underway throughout the Nordic region as a growing number of enterprises seek low-latency connectivity to Western Europe and North America. Scandinavia has already become a hotspot for data centres, attracting the likes of Facebook, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google. That said, subsea connectivity to and from the Scandinavia and the U.S. is currently undeserved. At present, there are only a few legacy subsea cable systems providing interregional connectivity and these cables are capacity constrained compared to new systems. These older cables are also expensive to run, which further limits their value. Secondly, because OTT and cloud players have major data centre sites located in the Nordics and Ireland, connectivity on a more direct path is needed. Finally, there is a need for diverse and lower latency paths from Scandinavia to the UK. In response to increased connectivity demands to and

from Scandinavia, there are two cable systems currently in development. One is a new subsea cable system connecting New Jersey to Ireland and Denmark with connectivity options to Norway. The other is the first modern, high-capacity subsea cable system crossing the North Sea from Newcastle to Denmark. Together with existing cable systems, these new deployments will create a ring of connectivity that joins the hubs of the pan-Atlantic hyperscale data centre industry in North America, Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia. Once again, data centre interconnectivity and selected metro area Points of Presence will link these new subsea cables to deliver traffic regionally. Whether in North America, mainland or Northern Europe, the convergence of subsea and terrestrial infrastucture is the means by which global data traffic is delivered locally. STF CHRIS BAYLY is the Chief Commercial Officer at Aqua Comms and has more than 25 years’ experience in the Telecoms sector. Previously, he was head of Global Wholesale Solutions at Colt where he focused on large infrastructure opportunities as well as supporting Colt’s customers in delivering cost-effective, world class solutions. Prior to joining Colt, Chris worked predominantly in the submarine cable business including running the Middle East and Africa region for Global Cloud Xchange (formerly FLAG Telecom and Reliance Globalcom) and successfully working in senior management roles across multiple functions including Sales and Marketing, Pricing, Finance and Business Development. As an experienced member of executive leadership teams and as a Chartered Management Accountant, Chris has successfully delivered on complex and varied business plans in both mature and emerging markets.

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7 QUESTIONS WITH JOHN MELICK Talking Industry Trends with Djibouti Data Center’s Cofounder and Chairman


ohn Melick is Cofounder and Chairman of the award winning Djibouti Data Center (DDC). The DDC is a privately held company, which launched commercial operations in Djibouti in 2013. The DDC is the only Tier 3 standard, carrier-neutral data center in east Africa with direct access to all major international and regional fiber optic cable systems connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia markets with Africa. The DDC serves as a strategic hub in the region for global and regional network operators, ISPs, MNOs, CDNs, and large content providers who are rapidly expanding services to many of the fastest growing and emerging markets in Africa. In 2016, the DDC launched the Djibouti Internet Exchange (DjIX), a neutral and independent IXP in Africa, collocated in the DDC ecosystem. The DjIX offers high speed, reliable, and resilient service to peering partners who are striving to reduce network latency and costs for Internet users in Africa.


What is driving the requirements for more international and regional fiber cable capacity and corresponding data center growth in Africa? The global Internet is growing at an exponential rate, bringing with it new ways of communicating, transacting


business, socializing, and transforming just about every aspect of daily social and economic life. Yet, the benefits of the Internet have not always been evenly distributed. In Africa, despite a slow start, Internet use is now rapidly accelerating, and its transformative effects are increasingly accessible. The Information Technology (IT) industry has been one of the major drivers of economic growth in Africa, growing by 40% for the past ten years. In the past five years, submarine cables have brought a twenty-fold increase in international bandwidth. Mobile subscriptions in Africa are expected to surpass 1 billion this year, and mobile broadband access accounts for more than 90% of Internet subscriptions. The growth in IT and availability of Internet access is ushering in the rise in demand for data center services across Africa, largely due to the increase in demand for content, lower latencies, and cheaper Internet prices. Data centers are the primary source of collocation, and local and regional Internet Exchange Points are increasingly becoming available for peering to large content providers, ISPs, and others who aim to serve growing user communities in Africa.


Why build a data center in Djibouti? Arguably, Africa is the fastest growing region in the world. Djibouti is a small country strategically located on the east coast in the Horn of Africa, and boasts one of Africa’s most advanced international telecom networks. Djibouti Telecom, the incumbent fixed, mobile, and Internet service provider, operates sate of the art fiber cable landing stations serving eleven international and regional fiber cable systems, and more planned for the future. The DDC was conceived as a carrier neutral data center – I call it an ecosystem - which serves as a strategic gateway hub to the region. It is complimentary to the many fiber cable systems landing in Djibouti that connect Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions with Africa. One of the many historical challenges in Africa is that digital super highways (submarine cables) have been able to bring “buyers and sellers” to the region, but there have been few shopping malls (neutral data centers) to sell and buy at once the buyers and sellers get there. Our vision when we conceived and built the DDC was to change this. Over the last five years, the carrier neutral DDC has played a significant roll in enabling a key regional ecosystem – shopping mall if you may - that enables network operators, MNOs, ISPs, and large content providers to establish a physical presence “in-region” with direct access to all major international and regional fiber optic cable systems. Fiber cable systems in conjunction with neutral data centers are now beginning to work in harmony to provide platforms for expansion to many of the fastest growing and emerging markets in Africa.


Why are carrier neutral data centers important? In a non-carrier neutral environment, a customer may only have one and/or limited options for connectivity and service. Customers in a data center tied to one specific carrier or a dominant provider can fall victim to high prices due to lack of competition limited bandwidth options. This puts them at the mercy of whatever provider the data center is tied to. Carrier neutrality in this case refers to data centers that do not compete in the marketplace with the very customers they serve, and that allow interconnection between many fiber cable systems, cable head backhaul providers, and interconnection providers. Carrier neutral data centers provide core services like collocation, hosting, meet-meroom, and fiber cable system cross connection services. Many even have convenient access to neutral Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), where Internet service providers can peer freely to keep local and regional IP traffic in

the region, thereby reducing latency, improving network performance, and improving the end user experience. Carrier neutral data centers are not tied to any single service provider, thereby providing diversity and flexibility for the customer seeking service. In a neutral data center environment, one has several options to choose from for key interconnection services, and may have multiple options for managing and improving commercial and operational terms. From the flexibility side, each and every service providers network is unique. International and regional fiber cable systems cover different routes, and having access to a variety of different fiber cable systems and cable head backhaul providers gives the customer the added benefit of diversity and redundancy.


What role are Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) playing in the development and expansion of the Internet in Africa? The significance of neutrality is not mutually exclusive to data centers alone. In Africa, neutral and open Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are growing rapidly throughout the region. For example, in 2016 we launched the Djibouti Internet Exchange (DjIX), which is collocated in the neutral DDC. The DjIX is an open and neutral peering point where each network operator and participant is treated equally and fairly. Before the growth of IXPs in Africa, network and content providers, as well as ISPs, had to exchange Internet traffic outside of the region or use higher cost IP transit options in the region. The local exchange of Internet traffic in a neutral IX can keep local Internet traffic local and in region. This can significantly reduce costs for network operators and content providers, and add material value by being a vehicle to reduce latency and improve the resilience and performance of their networks. All of this results in an improved end-user experience in Africa. Organizations like the Internet Society, which acts as a neutral and internationally recognized body devoted to the support of Internet infrastructure globally, are helping a lot in Africa. Among many initiatives, they have played a key role to promote the development and expansion of neutral IXPs in the region through funding initiatives, conferences, educational workshops, and fund raising from industry and institutional sources. The African IXP Association (Af-IX) is a group of Internet exchange point operators in Africa who have come together by a shared need to exchange knowledge and support for one another. The Af-IX is growing steadily, and they are now an organized group of 44 active IXPs located in 40 cities and 32 countries in Africa. The growing number of IXs in Africa, all of whom need access to fiber cable capacity, network connectivity, and data JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


FEATURE center environments for convenient and reliable collocation, is further evidence of Internet development in the region.


What trends are emerging in Africa for new fiber cable systems being planned to meet growing demand? In Africa, fiber cable system investors and consortiums are seriously revaluating the traditional model of landing new cable systems in incumbent or dominant carrier operated cable landing stations. Those involved are increasingly recognizing that due to advancements in technology, the operational specifications and requirements for cable landing facilities are very similar to those of Tier 3 and above data centers. They both need robust and reliable power, cooling, security, and options for local, regional, and international connectivity. By identifying neutral third parties who can build and operate a combined cable landing facility and a carrier neutral data center - especially in many markets in Africa where carrier neutral data centers do not exist - they can develop and create a commercial and operational environment that will be very attractive to potential network operators and large content providers who are building, investing and acquiring capacity on these systems to meet their needs. This new architecture can greatly simplify network design while offering access to a dense, rich ecosystem of networks. It can also allow easy, secure, and lower cost access for those collocating and interconnecting at a combined cable landing station and neutral data center.


What can developing and emerging markets in Africa learn from historical trends in more developed markets globally? Fiber cable consortiums and the large content providers who are building and investing in new systems prefer diverse, flexible, and competitively priced options for those interconnecting at their respective cable landing stations. They know that having these advantages will significantly contribute to the success of their systems, and insure a favorable return on their investment. Further, they know that if neutral data centers are conveniently located at or nearby cable landing stations, customers will have favorable collocation and backhaul options that will make it easier for them to offer end users high quality service options, lower latencies, and overall improvements in network performance. If emerging markets in Africa are to realize the full benefits of a growing digital economy that Internet can offer, these markets need to transition from basic connectivity to interconnectivity of networks. This can only happen if the development of connected infrastructure is enabled and encouraged. It is readily apparent that the Internet has had a profound impact on the availability of entertainment, video,



social media, gaming, and soon virtual reality options for the end user. What is equally as important is that the Internet has been a proven foundation for progress and improvement in other key social and economic areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, financial, utilities, and even transportation infrastructure. In essence, it touches something just about every single person uses and needs in daily life. The benefit of carrier neutral data centers located in or close by a cable landing station are undeniable, and are clearly evident in the historical progression of more developed markets.


What’s the next phase of data center development in Africa look like? Several new cable systems are in the planning and development stages in Africa. In addition to new regional deployments, international systems will add additional capacity and connectivity between many of the largest markets in Africa, and enable even greater connectivity to other major regions in the world. These systems can benefit greatly if they land in or close by neutral data centers, and help change the data center landscape in Africa. It is important though, for new cable system planners to choose their data center and cable landing station partners carefully – preferably a company that has demonstrated it can organically grow a successful data center business in Africa. Planning, building, operating, and successfully commercializing a data center in the region comes with many challenges unique to Africa. Choosing a data center partner with a proven track record of performance in Africa will significantly mitigate the risks and challenges. The barriers of entry to many markets in Africa are very real, and a proven track record in operating similar facilities in the region, managing and navigating associated risks and opportunities, and leveraging a diverse base of existing satisfied customers - many of whom have other data center requirements in the region - will accelerate the benefits to all. I believe that there is a special opportunity now for a neutral data center company with the unique knowledge and proven experience in Africa to emerge and fill an important gap – the deployment of a pan-Africa network of neutral data center facilities under the leadership of a trusted and seasoned team. The combined operational and commercial synergies associated with a pan Africa data center network will result in more efficient economies, lower cost structure, and will streamline processes that will improve productivity and performance. All of this will be to the benefit of customers and end users who will see significant improvements in service options, all at a reduced cost. STF


THE CHANGING WORLD OF SUBSEA CABLES Facilitating the Creation of New Business and Economic Growth


here are well recognised benefits to developing economies from investing in connectivity. However, the most pressing problems with facilitating the creation of new business and economic growth is a lack of the legacy infrastructure that has slowly been built in developed economies over the past 150 years. These infrastructure requirements include railway lines, highways, ports, telecommunication facilities and subsea cables, upon which the modern internet is built. Given the significant costs that building much of this infrastructure requires, most countries have settled on a combination of encouraging investment and what the World Bank defines as “leapfrogging”, where instead of creating western legacy systems they move directly to digital technology platforms. This saves these countries from needing to build expensive telecommunication structures and creating large systems which in many cases would be


inefficient, especially in sparsely populated geographies. Instead, by moving straight to digital emerging market economies can gain from the efficiency of newer technology and benefit from the significant network effects in commerce, communication and data analytics. This demand for connectivity means the subsea cable industry is rapidly accelerating as the global south seeks to become fully interconnected, with a boom in the number of cables being built in order to connect emerging markets with both developed markets and other emerging markets. The need for submarine cable network growth Today, there are still over 4 billion people in the world who do not have reliable access to the internet. While many of those that do have access have very limited capability, leading to their usage being highly constrained. The economic effects of bringing those who have no connection or are severely underserved will be revolutionary. JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


FEATURE Many who are not connected are in the most need of basic services which they cannot access. By providing someone in a rural village with internet access, it becomes possible for them to order key health services, use much of the free information online to further their education, connect to key financial services and communicate with those further away. Given that submarine cables carry approximately 97% of internet traffic, they play a central role in providing digital capability. As such governing bodies within numerous countries are increasingly trying to encourage the implementation or expansion of submarine cables networks. A decade ago, only 16 African countries were connected by submarine cables; this has now increased to over 30. Many countries have seen the incredible effect that the digital revolution has played in countries like China, leading to the growth of two of the world’s new internet giants in Tencent and Alibaba, and now wish to develop their own national champions for the digital age. However, to provide these services major investment is necessary.


There are an increasing number of planned cables between countries in the Atlantic region, particularly in the south, such as Angola Cables own South Atlantic Cable System, the first subsea cable directly connecting South America and Africa. Emerging market economies are also insisting that they have a strong share or ownership of



the submarine cables they build. This is seen as a national imperative to allow for the digitalisation of their economies and to ensure some sense of governmental control of the digitisation process. For example, the South African government insisted that the Eastern African Submarine Cable System cable had significant African ownership to align the countries’ interests with the companies’. Funding and expertise for these new submarine cable projects come from a wide variety of sources. For example, the Japanese conglomerate NEC built the physical cable between Angola and Brazil. China’s State Owned Enterprises have partnered to invest in the SAIL subsea cable, which will be built between Brazil and Cameroon by Huawei Marine Networks; and is also involved in the construction of the PEACE cable from Pakistan to East Africa, again built by Huawei Marine Networks. This is part of the much larger Belt and Road initiative, through which Chinese companies are building vast swathes of infrastructure throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East. OTT companies are today also active investors in submarine cables. The Monet subsea cable is an example, connecting Florida in the USA, to Brazil in Santos, São Paulo and Fortaleza. Furthermore, countries and companies in the global south are also putting in more investment as part of the efforts to exert increasing control over the cables built in the region.


As global submarine cable networks continue to expand,

we have also seen business models evolve over time to make the best use of the increased connectivity being made available. Two of the most prevalent trends have been, an explosion of consumer content enabled by mobile viewing and, the rapid rise of cloud computing in enterprise. Submarine cable companies have increasingly seen this opportunity and are investing vertically into data centres, colocation provision and cloud services. Not only do they have the ability to offer the best rates, but also offer some of the best connectivity options, because they control the cables, through which IP travels. Given the growing importance of securing their services, cloud services providers such as Microsoft have also been investing vertically, with deals in South America and South Africa. Another tech giant, Facebook are increasing the size of their investments over time especially to provide internet services. Across the globe, the other major tech players are also increasing provision. For example, Alibaba invested in the Reliance Communications project. Outside the internet ‘giants’, the globalised nature of cloud provision means that there are also a whole host of regional players also trying to claim their share of the market. Providers such as Rackspace, Fujitsu, Alibaba and CenturyLink are all part of this picture of vertical integration between cable networks, data centre provision and cloud services. Alongside this, data centre operators are putting a larger focus on cable landing stations as their value rises. The data centre industry is incredibly competitive, and one of the best differentiators is the ability to provide low latency, high throughput connects, which is significantly easier at a landing point. We can expect this to further drive, their investment in submarine cables as cloud providers trying to compete with ‘the big three’ increase their investments.


Data is becoming increasingly important, with media pundits going as far as describing it as “digital oil”. However, unlike the lucrative growth of the oil transport and trading business over the last 100 years, the data market will be subject to different dynamics and restrictions. As such, data analytics will play a major role in where and how data flows in the next ten years. The recent regulatory environment around data capture and analytics is becoming far less welcoming of moving data abroad. Two major economies who have taken active steps to secure data within their region are the EU and China. Through GDPR, the EU requires international companies to keep data about European citizens within the EU and delete any infor-

mation held upon their request. While China has forced Apple to bring much of the data it holds about Chinese citizens on-shore as well. Larger countries understanding the power data has are increasingly reticent to allow it to be shared worldwide. For those countries that are somewhat more laissez-faire, huge amounts of data will flow to regions where companies feel most comfortable processing that data and have the skills and ability to do so. Last but certainly not least, the advent of 5G, VR/ AR, IoT and increased video quality will lead to huge demand for submarine cables. 5G connectivity will lead to an explosion in data production and consumption as more and more devices become able to communicate with each other. As spare capacity within cables drastically decreases, the demand to build new networks that are fast enough and have much larger capacity will grow. The cable market will need to continue to innovate to ensure that submarine cables can match the exponential consumer demand for bandwidth, especially as developing countries come online and eventually match the data demand within developed economies.


It is clear that the subsea cable market is facing a transformative decade ahead. There will be far more people brought online who will seek to use the internet to change their lives. Whereas in mature markets, demand will reach ever great heights and data transfers between nations will continue to increase. While nations may decide it is in their national interest to protect certain data points, data flows will still face almost exponential rates of increase and consumers will generate more data through smart, interconnected hardware. Similarly, more content will be produced and consumed not only in developed nations, but around the world. This provides a massive opportunity for those who seek to connect the developing world and will allow such companies to play a transformative role in global economic development. STF António Nunes has been the CEO of Angola Cables since its establishment in 2009. An electrical engineer by profession, he has over 15 years’ experience in telecommunications. Nunes trained at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany and previously worked for UNITEL, the largest mobile phone operator in Angola. There he coordinated the development of access (2G and 3G), core (monolithic and softswitch) and transmission (microwave and fibre optics) networks, as well as the infrastructure associated with them. Subsequently, he is also linked with the development of value-added services for UNITEL. António states that today’s mission for Angola Cables is to transform the nation of Angola into one of Africa’s key telecommunication hubs.

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Telegraph Cable Landing - 1902 - Suva Harbour, Fiji LANDING - 1902

INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIVITY IN THE PACIFIC Fiji and Regional Subsea Cable System Initiatives



igital connectivity through ICT integrates the Pacific Island countries with the rest of the world. One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations is the building of reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to increase access to ICT and the provision of universal and affordable access to the Internet. ICTs and the Internet are key building blocks of the digital economy and have been recognised as important drivers to achieve the SDG (SDG-UN 2015). The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) identified that the international connectivity of small island developing states (SIDS) remains key to their economic development and creation of their own information society. The need for universal broadband connectivity for the Pacific was re-emphasized during WTDC-17. Access to international fibre-optic networks at reasonable costs, including submarine cable capacity is central to the realisation of universal broadband access policy goals in many Pacific island countries. World Bank research estimates improved internet access and connectivity could grow GDP by more than US$5

billion and create 300,000 new jobs in the Pacific. Telecommunications costs will reduce for islands solely reliant on satellite technology (e.g. Solomon Island). The various Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry have welcomed the sub-sea cable systems in their respective islands, stressing the significance of cable investments and the positive impacts it will have on the economy, growth, investment and private sector. Among many benefits, the sub-sea cable investments will boost island countries’ internet speed connection, lead to cheaper internet rates, make it easier for more investment opportunities and potentially create more jobs. For businesses, it will improve productivity and reduce wastage in time and costs.


The international submarine cable telecommunications industry has a long history in the South Pacific. The first subsea cable, capable of transmitting messages only, came to Fiji on 1902. The cable linked Canada, Fanning Island, Norfolk Island, Australia and New

Telegraph Cable Station-1902-Suva, Fiji


C.S Monarch & Retriever – 1962 – Suva Harbour, Fiji


Compac & Anzcan Cable Systems

Zealand and also provided Fiji with connections to Canada and the UK, via the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable. In the early 1960s a submarine telephone cable system known as COMPAC was installed as part of the then grand design for a round the world Commonwealth cable. COMPAC linked Australia to Canada via New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii. In additional to telephony, COMPAC, with a capacity of 80 channels, provided telex and additional telegraph circuits. Samoa cable landing in Fiji In anticipation of the end of COMPAC, a new transpacific cable, ANZCAN was commissioned in 1984, linking Australia to Canada, via New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii. The ANZCAN cable system had a capacity of 1,380 channels.


The SCCN was constructed in response to a shortfall in high quality telecommunications capacity in the Pacific. The shortfall was the result of the expected overall growth in capacity requirements arising from the worldwide deregulation of the telecommunications industry, the Internet phenomenon and the convergence of information technology and the telecommunications industry. SCCN had an initial capacity of 240,000 channels.

Southern Cross

Tonga cable landing in Fiji


International telecommunications in Fiji began due to the fortuitous location of the country on the optimum cable route between Australia and Canada coupled with the man created situation of colonial preferences. Early cable facilities landed in Fiji and the inevitable result was the establishment of Fiji as the Pacific Islands central hub for overseas business. Today, with the interconnection of Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu sub-sea cable systems, Fiji is the hub of the South Pacific telecommunications network and focal point of regional business activity.


Currently active

American Samoa CNMI

Currently active

Proposed additional













Solomon Islands



Proposed additional






Cook Islands









French Polynesia
























New Caledonia



Wallis and Futuna






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International connectivity to the Pacific islands has improved significantly over the last decade. In 2007, only four Pacific islands were connected to an international submarine cable: CNMI, Guam, Fiji, and PNG. Since then, ten international cables have be constructed bringing sub-sea fibre-optic connectivity for the first time to a further eight Pacific islands. A further ten cables are currently in various stages of development that would provide inaugural connections for another nine Pacific Islands. If most of those proposals are carried through to fruition then all Pacific islands, at least the main island of each of the Pacific island countries, will have direct access to fibre-optic internet capacity. This is a remarkable development considering that for over a century submarine cables were only ever landed on a Pacific island to regenerate the communications signal so that it could complete its trans-Pacific journey.


The investment in submarine cables to the Pacific islands is being driven by the need to improve these countries’ access to low cost, high bandwidth international connectivity. The geography of the region, the small scale of the island economies, and the high costs of submarine cables have meant that most Pacific islands have relied solely on geostationary satellites for internet access. As a consequence international bandwidth has remained expensive and restricted. Such limitations have kept retail broadband prices unduly high, deterred investment in mobile broadband infrastructure, and dampened ICT diffusion. This in turn compounds many of the longstanding economic challenges faced by Pacific islands generally, such as isolation and an increased risk of marginalisation, limited economic activity and economic integration, high transaction costs, limited skilled labour and high unemployment, and vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks. The lack of affordable, good quality internet access thus came to be identified as the principal constraint to further ICT diffusion and long term economic and social development more generally. This coincided with the recognition that greater integration of the island economies, both nationally and with the larger neighbouring economies, was essential to the sustainable development of the Pacific islands and overcoming the economic costs of distance. Towards these ends official development assistance, in particular from the World Bank and the Asian Develop-



ment Bank, has in recent years been directed towards the construction of submarine cables to the Pacific islands and, once landed, economic reforms to ensure the potential economic benefits are realised.


Having established a first cable connection, a number of Pacific islands have turned their attention to the construction of a second or even third cable. In the cases of PNG (with respect to APNG-2), Samoa and American Samoa, a second cable has proven necessary because their first cables were of particularly low capacity, around 1 Gbps, as they were recycled sections of an earlier generation of submarine cable. In the case of CNMI, a second cable system is sought to provide route diversity after having experienced the effects of disconnection due to cable breaks caused by typhoons in 2015 and 2016. As of March 2018, nine planned cables are proposed to include a landing in a Pacific island. These proposals are at different stages of development—some are currently under construction while some others are still very much at the planning stage. Most propose to use development assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Tui-Samoa, Manatua and the East Micronesian Cable, are examples of regional cooperation initiatives. If all of the proposed cables eventuate, every Pacific island will have a connection to at least one international submarine cable by around 2020. International backhaul options continue to remain limited to either Fiji or Guam (which has three separate landing stations and links to many hubs, including Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and the US). Although the ASH cable in American Samoa links to Hawaii, the cable is of insufficient capacity to be a backhaul option for other countries in the region. Two new cable projects, Hawaiki and Southern Cross NEXT, have potential to improve direct onward international connectivity by extending branches to American Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, and Tokelau.


With the exception of the major trans-Pacific cables that have a landing in Guam or Fiji, the submarine cables to the Pacific islands tend to be structured as private cables rather than consortium models. The small scale of the islands’ markets, and operators’ limited access to capital, do not tend to be conductive to



Cable length (km) (approx.)

Proposed RFS date


Australia – New Zealand –– US with BUs to American Samoa and available to New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga


June 2018

Coral Sea Cable System

Australia – PNG –Solomon Islands



East Micronesian Cable

FSM – Nauru – Kiribati




Samoa – French Polynesia – with BUs to Cook Islands and Niue



Southern Cross NEXT

Australia – US with BUs to New Zealand, Fiji, Kiribati, and Tokelau



Interchange Cable Network 2 (ICN2)

Vanuatu – Solomon Islands



consortium projects. Thus the inaugural cables to American Samoa, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Palau, Tonga, and Vanuatu have all been structured as private cables, which has enabled the participation of governments, provident funds and local investors, and the utilisation of debt finance and grant funding. However, the proposed East Micronesian and Manatua cables may prove to be the exceptions as the potential to structure these particular projects as consortium models is currently being explored. Variations of these models are possible, such as under a public-private partnership (PPP), but none has yet been adopted in the Pacific islands. The financial structure of the cable can have a significant influence on the pricing of capacity. Under a consortium model, the members of the consortium will bear the capital costs of cable construction and in return be allocated units of capacity on the cable according to the level of its financial contribution. Capacity is thus exchanged for funding. Each consortium member also contributes to the operations and maintenance expenses, at cost, in proportion to its financial contribution. In contrast, capacity and ownership are not linked under a private cable model and the equity participants will seek to achieve a reasonable return on their investment in the cable project. The contribution of subsidised loans and grant funding from multilateral development banks tends to substantially reduce the cost of capital and thereby directly reduce the pricing of capacity. Subsidised loans require a return on capital that is lower than the market rate of return; grant funding requires neither interest payments nor a return of capital. Given the huge capital costs of submarine cable projects in the region, in the order of US$20 to 50 million, these types of development aid will tend to substantially improve the availability and affordability of retail broadband ser-

vices. However, the development banks tend only to fund capital costs and not the ongoing operating expenditure, which must therefore be covered by the revenues from sales of capacity leases or indefeasible rights of use (IRUs). Further, the development banks principally provide financing to governments, not companies or state-owned enterprises. Beneficiary governments therefore must determine how to pass the funding support through to the cable project, for example by way of its own grant or equity participation (and if the latter, what ROI expectations may be attached to it).


The Pacific islands have long been dependent on satellites as their only source of international connectivity. For many of them this will remain the case for some time. Submarine cables remain the preferred technology for their technical superiority in terms of bandwidth and latency, and their operating cost effectiveness. Satellite signals are also prone to interference from climatic conditions of the tropical Pacific islands. Nonetheless satellite communications will likely continue to play a major role in the national and international connectivity of many Pacific islands. Papua New Guinea, for example, continues to rely heavily on satellite services for multipoint broadband requirements for private VSAT network and mobile networks coverage expansion, as do French Polynesia, Fiji and FSM. Satellite capacity will also continue to have an important role to play in providing redundancy for submarine cables and inter-island connectivity, particularly as many Pacific islands will only ever have one connection to an international submarine cable. Satellite will likely also remain the only means of providing domestic and/or international connectivity for some remote islands. By way of example, in FSM access to public telephony services are provided in some outer islands via village phones that use Iridium satellites. Another recent application of resilience was seen in Cook Islands when, during a disaster (fire) the mobile core of Cook Islands was destroyed. The satellite connectivity from Samoa greatly helped in mitigating the impact on services. With the rise of applications and enhanced opportunity to share services across islands, the role of resilience and universal access will be even higher. STF GEORGE SAMISONI is CEO of FINTEL and an Executive Committee Member of the Pacific Island Telecommunications Association (PITA). He possesses 25 years management experience in international telecommunications, including subsea cable and satellite.

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Completing the Regional Puzzle for Argentina


espite the huge increase in the number of new subsea cable systems installed and planned in recent years, regional customers across the globe still face many of the same issues today that they always have; a lack of affordable and available inter-regional connectivity, the great expense of creating new systems to feed onward connectivity, and the fact that large local incumbent operators often control both the regional telecoms markets and access to the international infrastructure. In Argentina these issues are prevalent and compounded still further by the ageing of the existing international submarine system infrastructure, with the primary routes from Argentina, SAC, SAM-1 and Atlantis-2, all being installed almost two decades ago. These and other issues are being addressed by Seaborn Networks’ Argentina to Brazil Submarine Cable System (ARBR), which not only provides regional interconnectivity but also onward routes to the USA and beyond via Seaborn’s new Seabras-1 Submarine Cable System.




Over the last twelve months Argentina has recovered strongly from its 2016 recession and expanded at an estimated 2.7 percent annual rate, driven by a strong rebound in investment and rising private consumption. It is forecast to grow even more strongly over the coming two to three years1. The increased economic stability since the change in government at the end of 2015 and the return to the international debt markets means that Argentina has also been successful in attracting significant foreign investment particularly in the telecoms industry. EdgeConneX are building a new Data Center in Buenos Aires, and the Blackstone Group with Riverwood Capital Partners have invested $190 Million to acquire MetroTel. Telecommunications is seen as a strong development driver for the economy in Argentina and, in support of this strategy, one of the first actions of the Macri Administration in November 2015 was to form a new telecom regulator, ENACOM. This positive landscape heightens the

need for a new regional build, and when you consider that the price for international connectivity between Argentina and US remains more than 2.5 times higher than the price for connectivity between Brazil and the US, the drivers for the ARBR system are obvious. In addition, much of the traffic between Chile and the rest of the world transits through Argentina, and there is continued compound annual growth of traffic between Argentina and the rest of the world. Argentina is a hotspot and Seaborn is ready with the touch-paper to help facilitate regional growth. ARBR is being developed by Seaborn, with The Werthein Group of Argentina, as a four-fibre pair system connecting Buenos Aires (Argentina) and São Paulo (Brazil). A direct subsea link will provide more than 50 Tbps of capacity between PoP’s in Argentina and Brazil, with the option for an additional branch to Rio de Janeiro. Onward interconnection with Seabras-1 enables ARBR to offer the newest and most direct route between Argentina and the U.S. With latency and diversity being key to customers, this system design, integrated with Seabras-1, makes ARBR an excellent example of a new build which tackles many of the regional issues.

optical amplifiers of different bandwidth, using different transmission formats. While most of the system could use C-band repeaters, the fibre pairs linking Praia Grande and Rio de Janeiro, however, can be equipped to use C+L amplifiers offering bandwidth sufficient for over 220 wavelengths and an OSNR that would permit 200 Gbit/s or more per wavelength. This gives a capacity that in fact can only be achieved with a wideband amplifier like Xtera’s, as using a higher order modulation would require between 128 and 256 constellation points and a much higher OSNR. Repeater spacing changes according to the length of the Digital Line Section (DLS) and the desired capacity, the distance between repeaters becoming smaller as the length and capacity are increased. In this case a solution with some repeaters having both types of amplifier and others with just a single type was found – as a consequence, in a few repeaters, the lower bandwidth fibres are designed to passthrough without amplification. This deals with a common dilemma in system design. On a long span in particular,

Much of the traffic between Chile and the rest of the world transits through Argentina, and there is continued compound annual growth of traffic between Argentina and the rest of the world.

ARBR DESIGNED TO ADDRESS REGIONAL DRIVERS ARBR will utilise Xtera’s technology which can be optimised for regional systems. As with many aggregated systems with numerous landing points, traffic demands vary across the system. As an example in this case, the connection between Praia Grande and Rio de Janeiro is likely to require more capacity than on the other links. To Xtera, this suggested a design option where different fibre pairs could be equipped with

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FEATURE choosing the optimum capacity is a trade-off between reducing the cost and having the right capacity per fibre-pair. On a purely economic basis one would maximise the capacity per pair and have fewer fibre pairs, implying C+L. A dark pair sold to a single user, however, has a certain commercial value, so it may be better to optimise the system economics by engineering each DLS individually with more fibre pairs in some cases, rather than concentrating the investment into the highest possible capacity on the lowest number of fibre pairs. Xtera and Seaborn have taken advantage of the inherent product flexibility, to maximise the value and interest of the system to the region.

Regions benefit holistically when the opportunity for business growth is offered to all instead of primarily to the large incumbent operators.


Regional systems often have a diverse and competing selection of customers with very different needs. Dark fibre, spectrum and capacity products are all in demand and while some customers favour low latency others are more focused on security or resilience of backhaul routes. It is clear that modern systems need to be open, in order to address the changing technology demands of internet content providers for example, whilst remaining able to offer equipped capacity products to suit the requirements of smaller players within the region. Xtera’s technology is suited well to this mixed market. For short hop regional interlinks Xtera can offer very high capacity unrepeatered solutions using a mixture of pre and post amplification and Remote Optically Pumped Amplifiers (ROPA). For longer regional systems of 500km to 3,500km the benefit of having a configurable repeater product can be combined with an open product set which manages the wet plant entirely independently of the selected terminal. For dark fibre pair sales the Open System Gateway is a one stop shop for operating the repeaters, managing the Power Feed Equipment and controlling the line. For spectrum sales, which may end up being more prevalent for regional systems providing onward connectivity, the Virtual Fibre Gateway (VFG) allows for multiple customers with varying spectrum requirements to co-exist in a safe independent environment on the same fibre pair. It is this independence that allows the VFG to be truly open - making a fibre pair user friendly for multiple customers with different preferred terminal equipment suppliers. And on the topic of ‘openness’, today’s new regional systems need to offer an independent operator model in order to open up local telecom markets and make capacity available to all parties. Regions benefit holistically when the opportunity for business growth is offered to all instead of primarily to the large incumbent operators. Similarly, local



engagement and investment during a regional system build helps to ensure good relationships with communities and the organisations who will live with a new subsea system throughout its 25-year design life and perhaps beyond. Both Seaborn Networks and Xtera have a deep understanding of working in South America and, combined with the fact that the ARBR system is being co-developed with The Werthein Group of Argentina, ARBR is very much a locally-owned project. With construction scheduled to commence this year and a Ready for Service date of H1 2019, ARBR will fill the missing piece of the puzzle by creating Terabits of accessible and cost-effective capacity providing regional and onward global connectivity for Argentina. STF LARRY SCHWARTZ is the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Seaborn. He has led the company from startup through its ECA-backed project financing of Seabras-1 and is responsible for leading the company’s growth. Larry previously served as CEO, board member and one of the owners of the parent company of Global Marine Systems Ltd., one of the world’s largest fleets of cable ships and a leading installer of submarine fiber optic cable systems. Larry led the acquisition of Global Marine from Global Crossing in 2004 as well as the asset acquisition of Red Sky Systems, a developer of subsea network technology. He also previously served as a board member of International Cableship Pte Ltd, a JV with Singapore Telecom that provides subsea cable maintenance in South East Asia. In 2017, Larry was named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the telecoms industry by Global Telecoms Business. He also serves on the board of directors of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and has been a co-founder, board member, investor and/or officer of numerous other telecom, data center, software and marine companies. LEIGH FRAME joined Xtera in early 2018 and serves as the Chief Operating Officer and key architect of the company’s strategy. Leigh brings with him a wealth of senior level and hands-on experience, backed up by a network of strong industry relationships at all levels in the customer, supplier and finance communities. Previously Leigh had an extensive career with Alcatel Submarine Networks, which includes positions as COO, VP Projects and Customer Support, and Director Marketing and Business Development. In addition, he served as an active Board member of the Apollo Submarine Cable System for ten years. His broad experience in the subsea industry over three decades covers corporate strategy, a track record of sales success, marketing, M&A work, operations management, and high risk/high value turnkey project delivery. References: World Bank Brief on Latin America and the Caribbean, Jan 9, 2018 TeleGeography





t has been a roller-coaster ride over the past 20 years, which is almost one design lifespan of a cable system. In SubTel Forum Issue 100, Stephen Nielsen described the despondent state of the submarine cable industry in 2001, immediately after the “dot-com” bubble had spectacularly burst. From a data center perspective, in the five years thereafter, only a few major cable systems were deployed into Equinix data centers around Asia. In the years 20072012, there was a new lease of life, partially driven by regional telecommunications deregulation, and partially driven by necessity – the earthquake off the coast of Taiwan impacted 8 major Asian submarine cable systems, resulting in 18 system cuts and severely disrupted Internet services around Asia1. This necessitated additional redundancy both Westbound and Eastbound out of Asia. Subsea cable activity dropped again in the next five years, only to rebound recently, in a way few in the industry would have foreseen.

For the period from 2017-2021, there are more than fifteen cable systems that have either come into service, or that are planned to be built around Asia, and this is representative of the level of (subsea) cable activity we are seeing in the Asian region today. Particularly when capacity prices are dropping in Asia, we ask ourselves – what is driving this huge surge in activity in the submarine cable industry and what are the factors driving this investment?




Year 2000 saw telecommunications deregulation in Singapore, when the government opened up the market to foreign investment and full competition. A stable political and economic environment, a clear regulatory framework, as well as a strategic geographic location JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


FEATURE established the island republic as a “hub” for Southeast Asia. This has resulted in Singapore being the termination point for a significant number of subsea cable systems. In general, where we have observed a more liberal telecoms environment, we also see a larger number of subsea cable terminations, as in the case of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. In the following 17 years, we have also seen varying degrees of telecoms deregulation in the Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, and recent subsea cable projects have seen heavier involvement from telecommunications providers in these same markets.



Aligned with the telecoms deregulation mentioned above, increased internet and mobile penetration, greater availability of content and video streaming (e.g. YouTube and Netflix), and higher throughput on the back of more in-country fiber deployments and 4G/5G technology have resulted in an explosion of internet traffic growth. In Malaysia, monthly Internet traffic jumped from an average of 6 G/s in 2012 to 222 G/s in 20172. Thailand’s international backbone grew from 407 G/s to 4,750 G/s during the same period3, and in Indonesia, a carrier I spoke with recently indicated that 50% of the capacity of a cable system they are building is organic traffic from their customers. As an economic driver for a cable-build, that certainly makes it a no-brainer! In other markets like Australia, capacity growth is being driven by early but high levels enterprise cloud adoption. This has driven large cloud data center deployments into the Australian market by the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and Softlayer, with Alibaba following close behind. This, in turn, is stimulating new subsea cable systems builds connecting Australia to Asia and the United States, as evidenced by the Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC), Indigo, Japan-Guam-Australia, and potentially SX Next systems. In contrast, the deployment of cable systems in locations such as Hong Kong, appear to be a “launchpad” for Chinese companies wanting to establish their first foothold in markets outside mainland China.





When the “One Belt, One Road” initiative was announced in 2013 by President Xi of China, the billions of dollars of investment to boost trade, stimulate economic growth and create the modern Silk Road was always going to have a far-reaching impact. Tailgating these immense infrastructure projects are the three Chinese carriers – China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, who have in turn, invested in additional subsea and terrestrial cable capacity. It has also driven Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and a whole host of Chinese companies to start addressing markets (and customers) outside of China. Sometimes called the “Belt-and-Road” initiative, with the “road” referring to sea lanes, and the “belt” referring to overland economic corridors, the infrastructure investment in Central Asian markets is also seeing an increase in terrestrial cable investment in that region. Already, these cables are being touted as the lowest latency routes between Europe and Asia, and there is also potentially talk of an additional Arctic route that will further improve the performance of the Europe-Asia route. On the other hand, various reports also show that India will be a huge growth driver to Asian (and global) Internet traffic. While Internet penetration is still relatively low (about 34% of the population4), the shift from PC to tablets and mobile devices, coupled with a surge in video consumption will drive additional capacity demand from the world’s second largest online market in the next five years5.

Various reports also show that India will be a huge growth driver to Asian (and global) Internet traffic.



Whereas legacy cable systems were built predominantly by the incumbent telecommunications operators, partially to satisfy organic traffic requirements and partially for diversity, recent systems are being built with the involvement of regional carriers, and content/cloud hyperscalers. It was only a matter of time before the latter would get involved in cable projects, driven by economics and practical reality. In recent years, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have been associated with various projects including APG, Faster, Jupiter and Indigo (and the list goes on…). Generally with smaller consortiums and a faster route to funding, content/cloud hyperscaler projects have tended to reach the Contract-in-Force (CIF) milestone more expediently. As these providers build out their

global backbones with greater redundancy, and on more direct routes, we will continue to see an uptick in their involvement at least in the next 5 years.




In recent years, technological improvements have resulted in two phenomena: (a) Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) equipment moving from the traditional “wet station” further inland to point-of-presence (PoP) locations, often housed in multi-tenant data centers; and (b) the evolution of traditional consortium cables into “open” cable systems designed to operate in a more vendor-agnostic manner, but more importantly, allowing greater flexibility in consortium owners to break out their capacity to different locations. We describe some of these details below.


For Equinix, we observe that subsea cable system deployments come in three models: • Model A: a “full cable landing station (CLS)” solution where Power Feed Equipment (PFE) and SLTE are housed in the data center (see Fig 1 below) • Model B: where the PFE is housed at the “wet station” and the SLTE is housed in a data center environment • Model C: a traditional city PoP, where cable capacity is extended via terrestrial backhaul to “breakout” locations often in multi-tenant, carrier-dense data centers Most of the various cable system equipment suppliers have introduced product lines to support the “open cable system” concept. TE SubCom refers to their “Open Cables”, a new flexible business model that allows customers to select their preferred SLTE line card supplier to create an interoperable and complementary dry and wet plant. SubCom will continue to offer and invest in its advanced SLTE product line, in addition to the new Open Cables alternative, to provide customers with ultimate flexibility.


Based on what is happening at the moment, the activity in cable systems (both subsea and terrestrial) is unlikely to subside.

In many Asian economies, Internet penetration is still relatively low. To illustrate, penetration in the Indochina and Indonesian regions is, on average, below 50%, and this is a combined market of over 400 million people. The situation in South Asia is even more severe, with Internet penetration at 34% in India, 22% in Pakistan and 48% in Bangladesh; this region has a population of over 1.7 billion eyeballs5. As such, the potential for traffic growth as Internet consumption increases is still tremendous. The factors mentioned above, coupled with the fact that several older cable systems will soon be end-of-life, and that content/cloud hyperscalers will need more capacity and redundancy on their global backbone connections, are certain to put a smile on the faces of the submarine cable industry. STF ANDREW OON is Business Development Director, APAC – Service Providers & Interconnection at Equinix. Andrew Oon has over 18 years of experience in telecommunications and data center services. At Equinix, Andrew is responsible for driving regional vertical strategy, as well as peering and interconnection services. He has worked closely with members of the submarine cable industry, and also has strong relationships with global network, content and cloud companies. Before joining Equinix, Andrew was with Singapore Telecom, managing business relationships in Southern Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. Andrew has a Bachelor of Engineering from the National University of Singapore and an MBA from the University of Birmingham, UK. NOTES 1. Source: Bernama, 22 Aug 17. 2. Source: NECTEC IIR Current Internet Map. 3. Internet World Stats, December 2017. 4. Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2016 Report. 5. Source: IWS.

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Increasing the Atlantic’s Resiliency, Stability and Capacity


ore than two years ago SemanticNet started working on the “Fibre Atlantic” concept – an open-access diverse fiber optic submarine cable system between Bordeaux, France and Virginia Beach. In our January 2016 article in SubTel Forum Magazine we described the current state of the Atlantic infrastructure. We concluded that the best strategy is to utilize three or four paths across the Atlantic in order to minimize the probability of a complete network outage. We proposed that in order to improve resilience, newly developed systems between Europe and the USA should consider an alternate path, such as between Virginia Beach and Bordeaux. There are various reasons to land a cable in Virginia Beach, but the main one is a more diverse route across the Atlantic and a direct interconnection between Europe and the Ashburn/ Dulles datacenter hub. Over the years I have written three articles. Two focused on the Atlantic infrastructure and one about Virginia Beach. It comes as no surprise this last article has caught some traction over the last 18 months or so. Virginia Beach is hot! It’s the “next big thing” in subsea world. So, its maybe a good time to review my previous article and see what has happened so far, and what’s in store for us!


In my 2016 article about Virginia Beach I made a few,




maybe sometimes bold, claims. In the first place, the Bullseye of the American Internet is not New York city. It’s true, NYC is where most of the Atlantic cable systems come ashore, but this is due to historical idea’s and the tendency of old stakeholders to keep it with the tried and tested. Nevertheless, its well-known Virginia state is the home of one of the US’s large Internet hub, Ashburn, Virginia. More than 16 large datacenters and more than 60 datacenters in the state, it is the place to be. Secondly, the growth in traffic. Its obvious the large players such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google have a big appetite for bandwidth. Two or more fiber pairs per path seems to become the standard for these parties. So, building new systems to a key hub just seems the most logical thing to do, that is, today it seems logical. I also made a case regarding diversity and resiliency. A new path across the Atlantic between key hubs in Europe and the United States of America would be the best solution to hit two (maybe three) birds with one stone. Our dependency of the Internet makes it too important to leave it in a fragile state. Yes, there are many cables across the Atlantic and there has not been any major outages, yet. But our dependency requires us to do our utmost best to try and prevent such a scenario and come with solutions to stay ahead and provide for a secure Internet experience for end-users.

Creating a robust, diverse network is a challenge that can’t be solved easily. Innovations in network geography were perceived as “risky” by the industry, a new geography meant a set of new things that could fail. And yet, this negates the drive for diversity – a new set of routes and pathways that ensures our constant stream of data isn’t disrupted.


As many have witnessed Marea has created a shift. What was once an idea, has become a reality. I would be lying if I would not say some people who approached me in the last few months were honest enough to say that they didn’t see it coming. With cables coming into Virginia Beach a series of new developments is gaining traction. Greg Twitt with its Globalinx datacenter campus and Joel Ogren with his $52 million datacenter plans. Both could potentially have created more than 50 jobs in the city alone. At the same time other projects are trying to ride the wave: Midgardsormen and SAEx.



If it is up to me I would say both Virginia Beach and Richmond have an opportunity to become the silicon valley of the East Coast. Where New York cities has its banks, stocks market and lawyers, the Virginian region should invest in startups who can benefit from the increased capacity. It would give these young entrepreneurs a unique selling point to their customers and have direct, low latency access to the European market, even after the Brexit (if it is a thing).


The region could also play an important role for Tier-2 Over-the-Top providers and smaller content providers. Digital Ocean, OVH and the Saudi Arabia based V2 are examples of cloud operators which could benefit from local datacenter developments. It’s these upcoming stakeholders SubTel Forum casually mentioned in their 2017 Market Report, and I am sure these and other players will expand their market in both Europe and the USA in the years to come. Virginia Beach and Richmond can benefit from these developments and draw more subsea cable capacity into their metro networks. Since almost every network is relying on Ashburn these developments would actually be for the better and help offload some traffic in Ashburn before it becomes congested and a single point of failure in the overall Internet infrastructure.

If it is up to me I would say both Virginia Beach and Richmond have an opportunity to become the silicon valley of the East Coast.

It seems Virginia Beach is on its way to become a new gateway for the Internet. It is, however, important to understand the way the Internet actually works. Even though there are many cables in the world, the Internet, the actual Internet Protocol (IP) layer in the network, sees a different picture. The IP layer only connects certain end-points together, completely oblivious of the physical infrastructure. As long as most of the data resides in and around Ashburn and other key Internet hubs, the amount of capacity used locally, within Virginia Beach’s metro network that is, will be small compared to the traffic flowing through these big pipes. Step one therefore is to develop local data storage and computing facilities, often called datacenters. Are two projects enough? I am not sure. With more than sixty datacenters in the state one could argue it won’t be enough. On the other hand, large players such as Google tend to build their own mega structures and bring their capacity across their own infrastructure to their nearest datacenters. This trend, large users not supporting the community, will become one of the challenges to build a large number of datacenters in Virginia Beach. But there is hope, since both Virginia Beach and Richmond are becoming part of a new path to Ashburn. Both cities are key points to traverse before accessing the Ashburn datacenter region.


Last, but defiantly not least, subsea cable remains an important part for the recipe for success. Even though there is sufficient capacity for the next few years. One major flaw in the Marea tactics is exclusion and lack of open-access. This could potentially have a negative impact on pricing, although this is unlikely since the Telxius while have to deal with the low pricing in the spot-market, somehow. More importantly, by giving Microsoft and Facebook what they need, a new problem was created: lack of redundancy. For local initiatives to thrive, redundancy is important and more systems along the same path are needed. If not, potential customers will have to face increased latency and crazy traffic reroutes through New York, in case of a failure, outage or other business adversity a subsea cable operator could experience. Which is why I remain positive for the deJULY 2018 | ISSUE 101



velopment of at least one, maybe two transatlantic cable systems between the USA and mainland Europe such as proposed by the Fibre Atlantic project in 2010. It will help created a stable and secure connection between Virginia Beach, Richmond and Ashburn on the west side of the Atlantic and Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam on the east side of the Atlantic. It will also provide for competition, albeit in pricing. It will help support local initiatives and provide for more jobs, personal opportunities and equality.


Lately, discussions with experts has uncovered a concern by stakeholders which is worth mentioning. If more cables come to Virginia Beach will there be a congestion? Yes. The concern for congestion is justified. New Jersey proves that congestion leads to new development such as landing cables in Virginia Beach. However, we are not there yet. Although most of the best places to land a cable is in use by the US military, there are sufficient number of viable places to land a cable. To be frank, sometimes not ideal and near places such as a shooting range, but nevertheless a Desktop Study will provide some alternatives. Otherwise, diverting into the direction of Norfolk could provide a solution. It is also important to note that congestion should be considered for similar cable only. This is what makes Virginia Beach so unique. You can land not only cable



systems from Europe, but the United Kingdom as well. Or even more cables from South America and Africa. Another opportunity worth considering is bringing in cables from Central America and help bypass Florida and provide for more redundancy, security and maybe even lower latency. There are plenty of opportunities and I would not be amazed to see the region become the new second largest gateway hub in the Atlantic.


Even today, talking about Virginia Beach excites me. A crucial and fragile part of the global network is almost fixed, and we soon don’t have to route traffic through narrow pressure points such as London and New York. And if we want a truly reliable network we now have a new entry hub in the USA to build more two or more open access fiber Atlantic cable systems between Europe and the USA as well as to other regions. We are now at the second phase of building a more meshed network to further increase the Atlantic’s resiliency, stability and capacity are needed.STF HUBERT SOUISA was the founder and CEO of SemanticNet and the driving force and supporter behind the promotion and development of an alternative subsea cable route across the Atlantic. Mr Souisa earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering at the Hague University and has worked for multiple organizations in the Netherlands, including Dutch based dark fiber and carrier Ethernet provider Eurofiber and the Dutch government.

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

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Regional Systems in Europe Providing Cross-Connectivity And Redundancy to Meet the New Needs of Data Retention in the World of GDPR BY JUKKA-PEKKA JOENSUU BACKGROUND

Finland has a unique position in the European Union with a central position in the Baltic Sea and also geographically connecting northeastern Europe with Eurasia and Asia. This has been very true in relation to telecommunications and data networks. Traditionally due to close relations in business and building of business links Finland has been connected to Sweden through various networks. This has been the way for the Finnish companies establishing pan- Nordic business and also creating data connectivity towards central Europe. In the late 90´s due to rapid increase of telecommunications traffic this also became a highway connecting east to west and today most of the internet and telecommunications traffic is carried through Finland and Sweden towards main European internet hubs and serving the demands of the capacity needs of Russian, Asian and international carriers and businesses. Also, connectivity to the Baltic states and routes through Baltic Sea countries were created in early 2000. Building regional cables within Europe can have a real breakthrough connecting different economic areas and meetings targets set earlier with Connect Europe Facility and building Single Digital Market in Europe. In 2010 Ministry of Traffic and Communications in Finland started to look for the ways to create a new connectivity between Finland and Germany and increasing the demand for new era of telecommunications data traffic.



The emergence of OTT´s like Google and Facebook building their data centers has led to positive investment cycle in which today Facebook is making giant investments in Luleå site in Sweden and building new data center in Denmark. Also, Google has a big data center in Hamina, Finland and increasing investments in Sweden and northern Europe. In 2013 a feasibility study was conducted, and the results of this study made by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Oy (PWC) and a wide consultation process paved a room tor the new investment to build a subsea cable from Finland to Central Europe. The Finnish Government and Prime Minister´s Office made an important decision in late 2013 to purchase Corenet, a special purpose company owned by TDC and Finnish Railways running backbone railway telecommunications networks. This investment was a cornerstone for making the sea cable project, called Sea Lion, one of the highest governmental initiatives. Corenet was able to provide the backhaul needed in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The whole project including the transformation was expected to have a budget of 100 M€ with the sea cable between 60-80 M€.


As European economy is undergoing a major transformation and at the same time facing very rapid digitalization there is need for new kind of thinking. Also, GDPR and new regulation entails building the cloud within European market area.

Therefore, a traditional way of financing and building vast infrastructure projects needs a more holistic approach to neutral networks which can carry vast amounts of data and provide a platform for innovativeness, new services and mobility. C-Lion1 cable system was built to meet the demands of this new era and combining industrial know how, strong governmental support with public funding and private actors to join the consortium. A wide public consultation provided an open and transparent process, and this led the European Commission to accept the notification of the Finnish Government to build a Sea Lion project with 20 M € funding with public support to build the sea cable with cybersecurity, redundancy and promotion of Single Digital Market in Europe. The support of the European Union for the project was one of the key elements to the institutional funds and financial market and after the notification received on September 16, 2014 the next steps of the project continued in a rapid and efficient way. By end of October 2014 after several discussions with interested parties a private consortium of Ilmarinen and OP Group were chosen to meet the matching equity investment of Governia´s public €20M investment. Early December 2014, after a thorough tendering process, a French company ASN Submarine Networks was chosen as turnkey provider to deliver this challenging project. For the transformation of this new entity Corenet was renamed into Cinia and a separate SPV C-Lion 1 Oy was created to own and operate the sea cable system.


The project had a very demanding 16-month project plan to study the final route, build the cable, apply for permits in the Baltic Sea territorial water owners and under economic zones, and lay the cable in the seabed. The Baltic Sea is a shallow water area and laying a 6-8 fiber pair system has several challenges, including mines, archeological and other nature reserve areas, a very rocky seabed especially in the northern part of the Baltic Sea and also winter conditions which could have in the worst case set serious hurdles for the project. With a very strong professional organization of ASN and wide capabilities in delivering the projects and also with a dedication of the Sea Lion project team the project was ready on time and in budget. After the delivery of the project the Finnish Government and the stakeholders of the cable system have a 144 Tbit/s system in use and the European economy can utilize the green energy markets in the Nordics to build data center connectivity and data centers to meet the demands for the European SME´s, corporate and public organizations and connect the European

hubs with Asian and western data hubs. One of the key outcomes with the project delivery was that a regional system has shown its capability of meeting the investment targets, and also promoting the new cross border way of additional investments. When writing this article one of the first investors, Hetzner Online is about to complete a major data center investment in the metropolitan area of Helsinki and connecting data centers in Germany and Finland with commercially attractive and robust product offering for small and medium enterprises.


C-Lion cable system is still in the very early phases of development with over 30 years lifecycle ahead and will experience several new development phases. In less than 15 years we have seen the emergence of the Big Data, cloud providers and business growing more and more digital. This cable building a bridge between Northern Europe and Central Europe through the Baltic Sea will open new possibilities between the continents. Therefore, aiming for the future is the Arctic Connect. Building a physical data connection from top of Europe through Northeast passage will connect the Asian and European continents and enabling a new silk route to emerge. This should be the next aim for the Nordic countries and Barents Region which will make the truly global digital economy possible. Neutral networks, connectivity and data security are the building a better society for the business and for the people. This system, connecting three continents and linking regional networks in Asia, Europe and North America will be one of the key drivers for industrial internet and new services for the global connectivity market. We also believe that C-Lion cable system is showing a good example that combining private and public funds, building open access network with high focus on data security and neutrality and including carriers, OTT´s and all players in the system will fuel the digital economy and build better society. STF Jukka-Pekka Joensuu is a globally recognized telecoms professional with over 20 years experience in the telecommunications and data market. He is currently partner at global law firm Eversheds and executive advisor for Cinia. Jukka-Pekka was a key contributor for the C-Lion cable system, working as partner and COO of Pricewaterhouse Coopers he prepared and planned the feasibility and business concept of C-Lion to the Finnish government and was asked to run the investment project as Executive Vice President for Cinia. Prior to this Jukka-Pekka had executive positions within telecom companies of TDC, Song Networks and Saunalahti. He started his telecom career as interconnection manager and legal counsel for Telia and in 2009 received ILO Global Counsel award for high standing achievements in telecoms regulatory affairs.

JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101



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IRISH LINKS Becoming the Cog in the Wheel of International Connectivity BY DEREK CASSIDY


hen we talk about regional networks we usually think of small systems that loop around the coast or connect Islands to the mainland. However we can also look at them and understand that they can also be systems that link into bigger and larger international systems carrying larger bandwidths. However we need to look at these regional links and see what their contribution is to the wider field of submarine cable connectivity. But we can also look at the reasons as to why these systems are in place and the overall impact they have on the larger international submarine links. If we look at Ireland for instance we see a country were the very first commercial trans-Atlantic system came into operation in July 1866. This international link had a direct impact on the existing regional submarine links between Great Britain and Ireland. Before the 1866 cable there were numerous links between Great Britain and Ireland, however as Ireland was part of the Union, these links can only be seen as regional links. From 1852 to 1866 they were just regional links with local traffic and messages from steamers and liners who pass by the Irish coast and get the telegraph messages forwarded to London and other towns in the British Isles. This method was the fastest way to get international traffic across the Atlantic and the regional networks



located in Blackwater, Donaghadee and Howth would be part of this network. These three telegraph submarine cable stations were connected to each other by various telegraph networks that spanned the island of Ireland. The network was extensive, as it was across Great Britain who had international links to France, Holland and Germany. The connectivity between the countries in Europe was localised and connected by short telegraph submarine cable connections. The reason was that long distance submarine telegraphy was still under investigation and was not seen as a tried and tested design. However in 1866, 8 years after the 1858 cable between Valentia and Heart’s Content failed after 30 days, the first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable was laid between Valentia and Heart’s Content. With the advances in submarine cable laying and recovery the failed 1865 cable was recovered from the seabed and in September the 1865 was landed and it too was a successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. With two months the connectivity between Europe and America increased from no cables to two cables. With this achievement in long distance submarine telegraphy the existing submarine cables connecting Ireland and Great Britain began to see an increase in traffic growth coming from America to Great Britain and Europe. These

regional networks became the cog in the wheel of international connectivity. Soon newer cables were laid between Newcastle and Nevin and the existing cable stations seen an increase in new cables being laid between the two islands. As these regional networks grew in importance their role in society also grew as communications were seen as the life blood of the growing Imperial Nations. Great Britain began the construction of the Red Line, a British owned and operated global telegraph network that circumnavigated the globe. This was seen as a secure way of keeping remote control over the colonies and making sure that all telegraph traffic was only ever sent or seen by British Telegraph operators. Such was the importance of these networks that in 1921 when Ireland was declared an independent state separate from Great Britain the British Government under the auspices of the GPO began the dismantling of the Red Line through Ireland and soon the demise of the international importance of Ireland as a transit network began to unfold. The regional networks soon became little more than telegraph links. However Valentia and Waterville still had connectivity to the US, Canada and other European states as it was operated by non-British Consortia and they would still carry trans-Atlantic traffic. But now these two cable stations competed with the cable stations in Porthcurno, Landsend and Weston-Super-Mare in carrying international telegraph between Britain and its colony’s. The demise of the telegraph in Ireland was seen with the closure of Ballinskelligs, Blackwater and Waterville as Telegraph submarine cable stations. The regional network was now down to a few submarine cables between Donaghadee and Portpatrick which were still operated by the British GPO as they were still located within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The only operating cable stations in the Irish Free State were Valentia, Howth and Newcastle. Soon the development of COAX telephone submarine cables hit Irish shores when two COAX submarine cables were laid between Dublin and Holyhead

in 1947. This was seen as new drive to increase connectivity between the two separate nations. However it was not so and the lack of investment and importance of the regional networks further declined. However in 1988 the first submarine optical cable was laid between Portmarnock and Holyhead. This was seen as the new era in optical communication. However there was very little action in this area with the exception of PTAT trans-Atlantic cable landing a branching unit into Cork. This was soon followed by the laying of the Celtic submarine cable, which was a cable owned by numerous operators including the Irish national telecom operator and British Telecom. With these new cables the increase in international traffic went from 8 words a minute in 1866 to 300 words a minute in 1910 to hundreds of Mbits in the 1990s. However the regional networks in Ireland were still only seen as links to Great Britain and nothing more. However there was a change in the air. In 1998 when the telecom market in Ireland was deregulated this coincided with the growth in the economy. The growth in the economy along with the deregulated telecom market was an increase in submarine cable build and soon with the space of 5 years 7 new international submarine cables were commissioned with one of these going across the Atlantic. Over the last few years the regional networks in Ireland have seen a growth as there has been an increase in subma-

With these new cables the increase in international traffic went from 8 words a minute in 1866 to 300 words a minute in 1910 to hundreds of Mbits in the 1990s.

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FEATURE rine cable activity that has successfully commissioned more international and trans-Atlantic links. There are now prospects for future connections to Europe, North America and the UK. This is down to the economic drive that has been taken place in Ireland that has seen an increase in Technology and Pharmaceutical industries and the successful establishment of multinational Financial Business systems. Ireland and its regional and international connectivity are now seen as the new connectivity hub of Europe. With the economic climate that is prevailing in the world today and the dark shadows of Brexit that are covering Europe, there is an air of un-expectancy. The Financial institutions, Engineering, Manufacturing and Communication companies across Europe are all still trying to understand if the outcome of the deal between Europe and Britain will be a good or bad. This is coupled with the review of trade and tariffs across certain sectors of the worlds trading partnerships. All these developments do not lead to a stable and confident trading environment. It is in this environment that the Communication and Large ISP operators are rethinking their international connectivity. They are also reviewing their existing strategies. This is not an uncommon approach; however the times we are operating in are creating real challenges that affect the whole economy, but on a slow meandering course, with some sudden changes created by one of the world leading influencers. We cannot look at the communication global picture today and say that it is the blueprint for future global communication interconnects. This is because we cannot see what the future holds for the many different influential changes that are affecting the world’s economies. These changes in trade and the free movement of people and ideas is felt that hardest in Europe and especially with the island grouping of the British Isles. The birth of long distance submarine communication technology was established in Ireland in 1866, this was successful due to the curiosity that is an inherent within Irish culture and psyche. The establishment of the regional networks was down the need to communicate with

our neighbours and the ever expanding Irish diaspora. It was also driven by the spread of British colonialism and the need for secure communications. However with the establishment of the Irish Free State these regional networks along with the international networks declined in importance and soon Ireland became a backstop in the communication world of submarine cable connectivity. However with the growth of the Irish economy, the developments in technology, the ability to continually fight back against any recession and continue to invest in its future, Ireland is seen as the new European communication hub with an increase in submarine cable activity carrying hundreds of Terabits. As we are still a part of the European Union and our ability to attract the next generation in industrial designs, communication networks and software development has meat that the country is now seeing its own revival with the submarine cable connectivity family but with the change in economic climate that is affecting our close neighbour and Europe are also increasing the demand for connectivity to Ireland and this is seen today with the growth in Data Centres across the countries, which rely heavily on international connectivity. The regional networks in Ireland are no longer seen as regional but part of an ever-increasing international hub of connectivity. STF

Ireland and its regional and international connectivity are now seen as the new connectivity hub of Europe.



DEREK CASSIDY is currently studying a PhD in the field of Optical Engineering (Optical Wavelength Manipulation, Waveguide Creation, NGN Switching and THz Imaging) with University College Dublin, UCD. He is also a Chartered Engineer with the Engineers Ireland (EI) and the IET. He is Past-Chair of IET Ireland, Chairman of the Irish Communications Research Group (ICRG) and is currently researching the Communication History of Ireland. He is a current member of SPIE, OSA, EOS, ITP, IEEE and is active on the IEEE standards (NGPON, 50GbE , 200GbE and 400GbE) . He has worked for 25 years in the telecommunications industry of which 20 years have been spent working for BT in their Optical Networks and Submarine Cables division. Derek holds the following Degrees; BSc (Physics/Optical Engineering), BEng (Structural/Mechanical Engineering) and BSc (Engineering Design) and has Masters’ Degrees; MEng (Structural, Mechanical, and Forensic Eng.) and MSc Eng. (Optical Engineering). He is also the technical lead in the Valentia Submarine Cable UNESCO project. He has multiple publications with SPIE, ITP, OSA, Optical Engineering, IEEE, IET and SubTel Forum.



Connecting Mauritius And Rodrigues Island to South Africa and India BY ARUNACHALAM KANDASAMY


nnovation in the business world is accelerating exponentially, with new, disruptive technologies and trends emerging that are fundamentally changing how businesses and the global economy operate. The Internet is one such technology which has changed the lives of billions of people throughout the world and fiber optic submarine cables are the critical communications infrastructure that carry more than 98% of international communications. IOX (Indian Ocean Xchange) is building a next generation submarine cable system to provide enhanced connectivity between the emerging markets in India and Africa and empowering the countries in the Indian Ocean Islands with abundant capacity, diversity and innovative services. IOX will be providing services that will carve a niche for itself in the growing submarine cable market by: • Creating a new route in the Southern Hemisphere that will provide much needed redundancy over the existing routes. • Ensuring seamless connectivity by providing an open

access cable system in the main geographies. • Building strategic partnerships that will create a network that provides onward connectivity across multiple continents. • Providing an integrated ecosystem of services by offering capacity, transformation services, managed services, regional innovation hubs, as well as cloud and datacenter services.


The IOX cable system spans more than 8,850 kms, connecting Mauritius and Rodrigues Island to South Africa and India, with optional links connecting to Reunion island, Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives, Kenya, and Singapore, with a total design capacity of up to 54Tbps. The first leg of the IOX cable system is scheduled to go live in the second half of 2019.


From Mauritius, the submarine cable route is northeasterly to Puducherry, India with a spur to Rodrigues, and JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


FEATURE potential connectivity to Sri Lanka Also, from Mauritius, the submarine cable route travels southwesterly to East London, South Africa, with potential landings in Madagascar and La Reunion.


IOX plans to build a cable system from Mauritius to Seychelles and Mombasa, Kenya which will further IOX offerings to the marketplace. IOX also plans a system to Egypt and onward towards the EU, for future “Hubbing” connectivity options.


The IOX network will provide a gateway to Africa as well as to the rest of the world by leveraging our industry connections and partnerships with multiple cable systems, ensuring access to a variety of content hosted in these geographies. This will create opportunities for customers to establish valuable linkages across geographies and industries. As a core philosophy, IOX will ensure that it offers Open Access to all its customers. This means that customers on the IOX cable system have the option of connecting directly to multiple other local service providers present in the landing station. This is a relief for IOX customers from the complexities of dealing with multiple parties such as the cable owner, the landing party and the local service provider to ensure that they get the level of service and resilience that they need. IOX also offers its customers the option of end to end connectivity for those who choose to have a one stop shop for their service. IOX will manage the end to end connectivity and provide best in class service levels. To ensure that IOX can provide this true open access connectivity, IOX is building its own landing stations at its cable landings in Mauritius, South Africa, India and others. IOX will also obtain the requisite licences in these geographies so that it has the right to be a “True Open Access Provider”


As a young company, IOX has come a long way in the past two years and has built a team of experts which have been in the submarine business for many years. Collectively the team believes that for IOX to be a “Preferred Partner” for the industry, the experience and the ease of doing business must be the true differentiator that we are creating. To



achieve this IOX is building two major state of the art Customer and Network Experience Centers, one in Mauritius and one in India that will take care of all IOX business operations. With simple processes and procedures that are aligned with the global standards of operations, IOX will accomplish its vision of having its customers as the brand ambassadors through an outstanding customer experience. Also, being a privately owned and managed submarine cable, IOX brings many additional benefits to its customers. IOX can be quick to respond to the ever-changing needs of its customers and does not have to rely on multiple layers of decision making and approvals, which is typically the case with large jointly owned cables. The key benefits of being a private cable are: • Fully Independent: No dependence on any other ownership party for any decisions • Quick Decision Making: Since all the decisions are internal, it is quick to react • End to end Ownership: The entire cable is owned by IOX including the Landing stations in India, Mauritius and South Africa, and elsewhere

• Independent Operations: The Network Management and the Operations are managed by IOX itself, thus providing full control over customer needs


At IOX, one of the integral parts of the business DNA is partnerships. We believe that for any business to be successful, one of the key elements is to have successful partnerships that will allow business expansion both in terms of scale and reach and to ensure that together the parties are adding value to their customers by leveraging the strengths of each other. IOX is creating a network Eco-system through partnerships that will allow customers to have a seamless network experience across different continents. The partnerships connect Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, North and South America.

access in the near future, the mobile technology boom will continue to revolutionize the way we work and live. IOX is actively working on key cloud software applications which harnesses this mobile technology boom to provide Industry and business with new cloud-based services to meet the growing demand and uses of customers globally. IOX’s goal is not only to connect the world through its Cable, but also to help businesses grow through the implementation of innovative cloud applications and solutions.



IOX is a true enabler of business and geographies with independent operations and a healthy partner eco-system. IOX will enable businesses and people in multiple geographies and will create innovation as a sustained business model. Some of the major initiatives of IOX are:

As part of its strategy to provide cloud content and promote innovation as part of its integrated service offering, IOX will be implementing regional incubation and accelerator programs to promote regional technology, art and entrepreneurship development. Through a combination of a cloud-based development platform and regional innovation hubs, the incubation and accelerator programs are designed to develop and promote entrepreneurship and talent for end users to exchange ideas worldwide and provide a means to empower and showcase technology, art and entrepreneurship within different regions and provide them with a global reach.



IOX provides cutting-edge Transformation Services that consist of managed network operations, network outsourcing and consultancy services, which empowers telecommunication companies globally. Together with clients and partners, IOX can create and deliver business, technology and operational solutions including, but not limited to network engineering, planning, design and implementation services


Our customers shall benefit from an integrated service offering by combining capacity with robust and secure access to Data Center and cloud services. This ultra-high-speed connectivity to a cloud-enablement platform is designed to give a more flexible, scalable and cost-effective IT infrastructure. This combination will provide computing power and storage capacity which can be added on demand. Companies willing to invest in the African and Indian Ocean region can benefit from the combination of capacity, Data Center and Cloud services of IOX and can make it a strategy for their risk assessment needs and for disaster recovery planning.


With over 5 billion people having mobile phone connectivity today and with the promise of higher-bandwidth 5G

Bold innovations are changing the world around us on a daily basis. At IOX, our mission is to be more than just a submarine cable system and to empower innovation through an ecosystem of connectivity and innovative services which facilitates growth for both our company and the region in which we operate. We believe that by empowering people in the regional geographies, we can help lead the way to connect the world with next generation services and innovations. While the journey is not easy, the joy of bringing smiles to all the people we touch continuously drives us to “Go the Distance”. STF ARUNACHALAM KANDASAMY is the founder and CEO of IOX Cable and a member of Mauritius Institute of Directors. He oversees the corporate direction and strategy for IOX’s global operations including infrastructure development, business growth, alliances, commercial and channels. Prior to IOX Cable, Arunachalam was Head of Operations for SEACOM, a Submarine Cable System company connecting South East Africa to the rest of the world. He was responsible for building SEACOM, FALCON, i2i Cable Systems as well as operating the telecom network with the different technologies. He pioneered innovation, growth and transformed the operation by building a state of the art operations support system (OSS) which automated all the network processes and procedures and integrating them with various business support systems which resulted in functional efficiency and better customer experience. Arunachalam earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering and is an alumni of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA)

JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


Undersea Fiber Commu r Communication Undersea Systems, Fiber 2eComm This comprehensive book provides both a

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150 Years of Enterprise at Greenwich Enderby’s Wharf BY ALLAN GREEN

[This paper was first read at the Fleming Valve Centenary Conference held at University College London. July 1st and 2nd 2004]



reenwich is famous for many good reasons, from its maritime history recalled by the presentation of the Cutty Sark, from the international adoption of the Greenwich Meridian reference (paid by the UK country by their commitment to use then the metric system!), and more recently the Millennium Dome (relying on a gigantic vault supported by a cable network….). In our community, Greenwich is well known as the historical source of the transoceanic telecommunication submarine cable, with all the epic adventures pioneered with the Great Eastern having its homeport in Greenwich. Allan Green, working with Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and the Science Museum in London is offering us a nugget found in year 2000 in the nicest house on the river Thames in Greenwich that dated from the early submarine cable factory installed there. One amazing finding of this paper is that the diversification was from the beginning a strong


motivation for constant innovation and that these innovations permitted to cross more than a century period despite high and sometimes low business for submarine cables. One could even say that submarine cables were saved by the invention of Mumetal on the submarine cable factory in Greenwich…Many other interesting findings are presented by Allan Green who is deeply thanked for his contribution. 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.


Enderby’s Wharf in Greenwich SE In year 2000, I was made aware of London is probably best known to his- an archive, held in the National Martorians as the manufacturing site for itime Museum in Greenwich, which the 1865/6 Atlantic Telegraph cables and The Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company Ltd. (Telcon) who made them. Over the following 80 or so years they manufactured and laid over 70% of all submarine telegraph cables in the world. During the time of Telcon and of their successor companies many other interesting and less wellknown engineering activities took place at Enderby’s Wharf. This paper outlines three such Fig. 1. Cable samples enterprises.



relates to industrial activity at Enderby’s Wharf. Standard Telephones and Cables (STC) who were the owners of the site at that time had donated it in 1988. At the time I discovered the archive it had not been fully catalogued, was little known and by consequence little used. I later discovered that the Museum also held an interesting collection of early submarine telegraph cables many of which were made at Enderby’s Wharf. In 2003 the Telegraph Museum at Porthcurno took over a further collection of archive material from the site. This comprises manuscripts, books, film and video collections relating to activities at Enderby’s Wharf from earliest

times right through to the present optical fibre era. In addition to this a significant collection of early telegraph and telephone cable samples have also been transferred (Fig 1). The collection is currently being catalogued at Porthcurno.

Fig. 2. Enderby’s Warf Site ownership


Privileged to have had access to the above material, I have assembled in this paper just a few of the less well-known activities embarked upon by the owners of Enderby’s Wharf over the past 150 years.

Submarine cables and communications have, since 1864, always been at the heart of business at the site, but some interesting diversification projects were launched there. Most of these non-cable activities have not been researched in any depth and I hope that this paper will be a stimulus to the development of scholarship in some of the areas covered. The site has been owned by a succession of companies over the past 150 years. All have been involved principally with submarine communications cable or equipment. The diagram (Fig 2) shows ownership over that period of time.

Isle of Dogs and a few hundred yards along the Thames Path from Greenwich Pier and the “Cutty Sark” (Fig 3). The Greenwich peninsula today is undergoing major redevelopment with old and sometimes derelict factories and warehouses and wharves being replaced by offices and residential

Fig. 3. Location of Enderby's Wharf


Enderby’s Wharf covers an area of around 16 acres on the Thames in SE London with a river frontage of approximately 200 yards and is situated directly across the river from the

properties. It remains “crowned” by the Millennium Dome whose final destiny is yet to be decided. For many years the area was known as Greenwich Marsh and until around 1750 it was a low lying, un-drained and practically uninhabited piece of land. The family after whom the Wharf is

named and their connection with Greenwich started with a Samuel Enderby who was born in 1717 and became a major oil merchant. In 1775 he assembled a fleet of ships to hunt the sperm whale. By 1790 it is estimated that Samuel controlled 68 whaling ships operating in Antarctica and after his death in 1797 his three sons Charles, Samuel and George continued to run the Company. From the point of view of the history of the site it was the next generation Charles and George Enderby, grandsons of old Samuel who first bought the riverside site around 1830, after their father’s death, and moved their business headquarters there. They built a ropewalk and a factory with hemp and flax mills primarily for the production of sail canvas and cordage. It was known as Enderby’s Hemp Rope Works. Their home was Enderby House, (Fig 4) built around 1835 and which stands today, a listed building and part of the Alcatel factory site on Enderby’s Wharf. Its main architectural feature is a large octagonal room on the first floor with bay windows overlooking the Thames. It also has a very fine cast iron and glass domed roof and highly decorative cornice, all of which have been maintained in excellent condition. Almost next door at Morden Wharf, Kuper’s, soon to become Glass Elliot & Company, were using JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101



their wire rope manufacturing expertise to produce some of the earliest submarine telegraph cables. Needing to expand they sought additional premises and bought Enderby’s Wharf, including the ropewalk, in 1857, and together with another cable manufacturer, W T Henley, they moved in. Within a year Henley’s had moved to North Woolwich from where they were they went on to build Fig. 4. Enderby House their own very significant and interesting niche in the evolving submarine cables industry. gines” on the Great Western Railway So with Glass Elliot & Co in 1857, at Swindon where he had gained the Enderby’s Wharf became a submarine reputation as a stickler for detail and cable-manufacturing site. It became for high engineering standards. the most important such site in the His long career with the Great world and remained in almost continWestern Railway ended temporarily uous production until the last submain 1864 when he took a seat on the rine cable was shipped in 1975. Board of The Anglo-American TeleSo, apart from submarine cables, graph Comwhat are these other activities that pany Limited have taken place at Enderby’s Wharf with a stake of over the years since 1857? £20,000. It was his 4. THE DANIEL GOOCH ERA first serious step After the success of the 1865/66 into the world Atlantic cables John Pender stood of submarine down as Chairman of Telcon in 1868 telegraphy in and went off to develop his Eastern which he was Telegraph Company and Daniel to be most Gooch replaced him. influential for Born in 1816 Gooch became a the next 30 skillful mechanical engineer and years. On the talented designer and having worked same path for Robert Stephenson & Co went on and in the in 1837 to work for I K Brunel as his same year he “Superintendent of Locomotive Enbought the Fig. 5



ill-fated steamship “Great Eastern” at auction for £25,000, and then offered it to Telcon to lay the proposed 1865 Atlantic cable in exchange for £50,000 in cable shares in the event of a successful lay. Telcon jumped at the idea and gave him a place on their board too. The success of the 1865/66 Atlantic cables is now legend. It earned Gooch a Knighthood and as if accolades in telegraphy were not sufficient the Great Western Railway Co, once more sought his services. They appointed him Chairman in 1866, a post he retained until his death. Gooch was by now totally committed both personally and financially to the submarine telegraphy business. During his 30 year tenure at Telcon the main cable business was pretty well guaranteed by way of significant orders from his predecessor John

Pender who was building his Eastern Telegraph network. For Gooch it was no doubt a comfortable commercial position to be in. It was during this period in 1880 that he took onto the staff of Telcon a brilliant young electrical Fig. 6. Permalloy loaded cable engineer James Edward Henry Gordon. Already with several patents to his name Gordon was interested in the generation of electricity primarily aimed at replacing gas as the primary source of lighting. At Telcon his department designed and developed dynamos driven by steam engines and it would appear that he quickly took the Company into the forefront of that relatively new and evolving technology. Edison, Brush, Siemens Fig. 7. Mumetal loaded cable and others were also in the field with both AC and and destroying results of nine months DC machines, but Gordon seems to labour that I modified my views”. have taken the view that size really did Directly coupled to a steam engine matter! his biggest machine (Fig 5) was 8 feet He built several very large dynamo in diameter, rotated at 140 to 180 rpm, machines at Greenwich, the largest in and weighed 22 tons. Output was statthe world at that time, and eventually ed as “sufficient for 6000 Swan lamps of took the view that: “Slower rotational 20 candles”. speeds meant safer machines...”. But He set up a machine of this type to evidently this was only after some provide power to light the Enderby’s unhappy experiences. He wrote in 1881 Wharf factory from around 1883. In that he had been “…convinced that the same year the Government started speed was an advantage until I had to take a serious interest in the elecone of my high speed machines fly to tric lighting business and the Board of pieces with the result of wrecking the Trade introduced the Electric Lighting portion of the factory in which it stood Act under which it would appear that

the main commercial competitors for generation business, which included Telcon as well as Edison, Swan and Brush were apportioned specific parts of London in which they were permitted to develop business. Daniel Gooch must have been well aware of the potential for this type of business and the commercial opportunity that it presented for Telcon. He had Gordon build a power station to light his Great Western Railway terminus and railway workshops at Paddington, and the “Great Western” Hotel and this was all still operational in 1907. However there is little evidence to suggest that Gooch really wanted to have Telcon compete seriously in this rapidly developing but increasingly competitive market. Just maybe he felt more secure in the near monopoly he enjoyed in the submarine cables business? Gordon, as Manager of the Electric Light Department at Telcon, published in 1884 his book, A Practical Treatise on Electric Lighting and left the Company soon afterwards. He became Engineer at the Metropolitan Electric Supply Co and later formed a consultancy partnership with a Mr W J Rivington and carried out many urban lighting installations around UK and Ireland. It would appear that with Gordon’s departure Telcon closed their Electric Light Department and we might ask; was this a lost opportunity for Telcon

BACK REFLECTION and Enderby’s Wharf or a timely financial move by Sir Daniel Gooch?


the copper conductor. Both methods gave some improvement in performance i.e. higher transmission speeds were achieved. Telcon at Enderby’s Wharf did not pursue this technology for some time but nevertheless they had been investing heavily in their research team and facilities since the First World War and were well placed to move forward in a wide variety of research projects including special metal alloys. Action by Telcon would seem to

Around 1920 a quite new type of business was being launched at Enderby’s Wharf and it was to become a significant business diversification for Telcon. Branching out into the manufacture of special metal alloys (primarily alloys of iron, nickel and copper) would come to help them through business depression in the 1930’s and place them in a strong position for significant growth after the war. It all started, however, with the ever present pressure that was coming from the Submarine Telegraph Companies who were turning to the cable and equipment manufacturers in order to increase their business revenues, either by having more cables laid or to have systems which could handle more traffic. Transmission by submarine telegraph cables was Fig. 8. Telegraph Ship “Brisk” at her moorings in the Channel slow. A maximum of 10 to 12 words per minute was typical on long cables but it had been have been triggered when in 1920 shown that improved results could be they became aware of developments achieved by inductive loading of the in the USA by the Western Electric cable to help “balance out” the high Company. A magnetic alloy of nickel capacitance, which blurred the transand iron had been produced having mitted signal pulses. very high relative permeability and As early as 1910 Pupin in the USA low hysteresis loss. When applied in had advocated lump loading using the form of a loading tape around the coils and later Krarup in Denmark copper core of a telegraph cable it was proposed magnetic loading with a fine claimed that an increase of up to four wire of soft iron helically laid around times the speed of transmission could



be achieved compared to an unloaded cable of the same dimensions (Fig 6). This material was named Permalloy and was patented by Western Electric in 1921. With such promise of improved performance telegraph cable design was never going to be the same again. Everyone now wanted a faster, loaded cable. In the USA the Western Union Telegraph Co was quick to react and, since there were no manufacturers of submarine cable in the USA they came to Telcon in 1923 for the manufacture of a loaded cable to link New York and the Azores. For Telcon, by now beginning to study alternative alloys at Enderby’s Wharf it was an opportunity to get straight into the new technology. Western supplied the Permalloy tape but Telcon had to invest in new machinery and develop techniques in order to lay up the tape. Technically it was a difficult material to manufacture and equally difficult to handle on the production line. The cable was manufactured and laid in September 1924 and performed as expected with transmission rates over four times faster than any other Atlantic cable so far laid. Reports vary but it seems that 100 words per minute were achieved. In 1923 Telcon had registered several patents for an alternative alloy for loading. They named it Mumetal. It was ductile and unlike Permalloy could be drawn into a fine

wire that was much easier to handle on However 1930 was the time of the production line. The Mumetal wire world business depression and like was wound helically onto the copper many other markets, submarine conductor (Fig 7) and very large quan- telegraph cables experienced serious tities were needed, around 50miles of decline. Five years without trading the fine wire for every mile of finished profit (1930 - 1935) were weathered cable was typical. only by virtue of the Company’s subThe design was a great success and stantial reserves yet in 1935 there was Telcon subsequently received orders from most of the major telegraph companies for such cables. The technology of loading cables continued to be subject for study and developments produced features such as “tapered loading”. This involved different weights of loading being applied to different sections along the length of the cable. Operators of one Atlantic cable of this type laid in 1926 claimed to have achieved transmission rates 10 to 12 times the rate of non-loaded cable of the same dimensions. Demand for loaded cable Fig. 9. Seastations literature was so great that Telcon had to continue to invest heavily, particularly in the small high-frequen- a merging, by mutual agreement of the cy furnaces that were essential for the submarine cable interests of Telcon production of Mumetal. Production and Siemens. The new Company that of metal ingots in 1924 was running was jointly owned was called Submaat 30 tons per week, all of which had rine Cables Ltd. and operated from then to be drawn into fine wire for Enderby’s Wharf alongside Telcon’s which task Telcon had to seek addiother (non-submarine) activities. Mettional outside help. als activity continued to be a signifiFor the decade up to 1930 Mumet- cant part of that business. al loaded cables were very profitable The magnetic shielding properties business for the Company who had of Mumetal in sheet and strip form also been looking at alternative uses were rapidly finding applications in for the alloy and for other similar the emerging wireless communications products coming from their metals era. Technology continued to develresearch program. op and other magnetic alloys were

manufactured including Radiometal and Rhometal. Alongside these Telcon produced electrical resistance alloy wires such as Telcuman, Pyromic and Calomic. These were of great strategic significance at this time since Germany had a virtual monopoly on such materials. All of these developments at Enderby’s Wharf played a very important role in wartime Britain but probably the most significant was Telcon’s original alloy, Mumetal. Demand for it continued to grow in applications such as the shielding of radio, radar and other electronic equipment and components and particularly for the shielding of cathode ray tubes.


In 1965 Submarine Cables Ltd. at Enderby’s Wharf became involved in a project which so closely echoes an event that had taken place almost 100 years earlier as to be quite uncanny. By 1869 many thousands of miles of land and submarine telegraph cable had been laid around the world but there remained a major and frustrating communication problem to be solved. Ships that were out of sight of land had no means of communicating with anyone other than perhaps to exchange flagged messages with other passing ships. As an ex-Navy man, Telcon Managing Director Captain Sherard Osborn was only too well aware of this problem and together with several other naval men embarked upon creating “man-made floating telegraph JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101


BACK REFLECTION stations”. As Directors they formed The International Mid-Channel Telegraph Company Limited with capital of £125,000. Engineers to the Company were none less than Sir Samuel Canning, Latimer Clark and Robert Sabine. The Company prospectus launched by them in 1870 stated their objectives to be: “To extend the advantages of telegraphy by establishing a system of Telegraph Ships connected by telegraph cable with the mainland and moored in the fairway of the great streams of vessels passing through the British seas “ It went on to say that a further objective was “…to have the first such station in the English Channel mid-way between Scilly and Ushant… moored with mushroom anchors in 55

Fig. 10. Seastation upper structure



fathoms and by cable to communicate direct with Penzance…”. This was done with in the Spring of 1870 with Telegraph Ship “Brisk” (Fig.8). They announced that service and revenue for the Company was expected to come from: • Telegrams for & from passing ships to and from Underwriters and ship-owners • Government and Post Office Telegrams • Agency for supply of stores for ships • Landing of homeward and puttingon-board outward-bound passengers, including stowaways, and mails. On the face of it this was an interesting project with some serious merit but they had not reckoned on the damage that would be sustained by the cable. It would have been in constant motion at the ship-end and breakages


were frequent. Constant motion also made life totally unbearable for the crew who were trained as telegraph operators and not as seamen. The project was totally unsustainable and closed down after only two months in June 1870. Almost 100 years later in the 1960s, airliners taking the direct route over the North Atlantic faced similar communications problems to those ships of the 19th century. Ground-to-air VHF (118-136Mhz band) radio communication was well established and reliable but was limited in range. Line-of-sight distance of about 250 nautical miles was the maximum for an aircraft flying at 50,000ft. The UK Ministry of Aviation put out a Study Contract to look at ways of maintaining reliable communication with aircraft along the full length of the North Atlantic flight path.

Fig. 11. Seastation showing cable and anchors

Submarine Cables Limited together with Cammell Laird & Co. aware of a business opportunity formed a joint Company, Seastation Telecommunications Ltd. which was eventually awarded the contract in 1963. After around 18 months of study they submitted their report in November 1965 (Fig 9). The comprehensive report sets out the full design details of a chain of moored stable platforms to be anchored in the Atlantic and coupled by submarine cable to each other and to land terminals. Proposals include options for 3 or 4 platforms to be used. Each was to be 455 feet from top to bottom with 85 feet projecting above sea level and topped by a helicopter landing deck. The deck would also carry radio and radar antennae (Fig. 10). At around 2,500 tons displacement each Seastation would be permanently manned by a crew of 16 working a 3-month on/off rota. The platforms would be anchored in ocean depths between 9,000 and 13,000 feet by means of three anchors spaced 120 degrees to each other. The armoured coaxial submarine telephone cable approximately one inch diameter would rise in a slack catenary from the sea-bed and enter the Seastation through a bell-mouth at its lower end (Fig.11). Scale models (1:36) were built and tested at the National Physical Laboratories to verify the design parameters and confirmed that the platform could meet the stability criteria in the worst of Atlantic wind, waves and currents. It seems that the crew of the platform might have fared rather better than those on the 1869 adventure in

the English Channel thanks to the “spar-buoy” design of the platforms. This design allows excellent stability by the use of a tall slender construction having a centre of buoyancy significantly higher than its centre of gravity. The Report states that the maximum heave (vertical motion) would not exceed 2.5 feet and inclination to the vertical would not exceed one degree. On the face of it this was another mid-ocean engineering project with evident merit at the time and which stretched design technology particularly in the deep water anchoring of stable platforms. However, like its 19th century counterpart this project would appear to have gone no further. A report in the Financial Times 31st March 1966 titled, “Rival Plans for Aircraft Radio Links” spelled out the direct threat to the Seastation project as a result of developments in the USA, where the Commercial Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) announced that they would be launching satellites which would be able to do the job. The decision as to how transatlantic aeronautical communications was to be managed was, however, not in the hands of either the UK or the USA but the International Civil Aviation Authority. Perhaps in their archives are the final chapters of the Seastations story? That completes the three brief glimpses into some of the less wellknown business activities at Enderby’s Wharf. Given more time one could have included many others such as the manufacture of buoys, grapnels and other cableship equipment; special

cables, particularly development work on coaxial cables; the first transatlantic telephone cables; and war-time efforts in products such as the PLUTO pipeline project, a significant proportion of which was made at Enderby’s Wharf. The two archives to which I have referred comprise a very important record of one of England’s foremost communications engineering manufacturing sites. These archives contain a wealth of information, they are accessible, and I hope that this paper will stimulate others to look further into some of this rich industrial history. STF ALLAN GREEN is Research Fellow at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum in Cornwall, UK. Born in North Yorkshire in 1938, he took Graduate apprenticeship with instrument manufacturers Airmec Ltd. This was followed by 5 years with the Ministry of Aviation on radar systems for U.K. V-Bomber fleet and also the ill-fated TSR-2 aircraft. He launched the UK subsidiary of French wire and cable manufacturer Filotex in 1969 where business included supply of wire/cable for Concorde and to Rolls Royce Aero Engines. Becoming part of the Alcatel Cable Company, Filotex also represented Les Cables de Lyon in UK. Shortly after the Group became Nexans. Allan retired in 2001 to further follow his interests in..... yes of course.... cables! This time his interest centred on sub-sea cables where he has worked very closely with both the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and the Science Museum in London. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Cornwall: Telcon Archive (currently being catalogued) National Maritime Museum, Greenwich: Archive. MS88 / 078. Hill, Steve & Jeal, Alan: Greenwich. Centre for Global telecommunications from 1850. Alcatel 1999. Jenkinson, Sally: Enderby Wharf (The Growth of Industry in East Greenwich Part 2.) Lawford & Nicholson: The Telcon Story.1950 Mills, Mary: Greenwich Marsh. The 300 years before the Dome. 1999

JULY 2018 | ISSUE 101







hen the “Founding Fathers (and Mothers)” of our Industry gathered in Paris in 1986 none could have envisioned the tectonic shifts that have occurred since then. Telephony and Commerce were the drivers, and this meant that the vast majority of links revolved around a Japanese, USA and Western European axis. As a natural consequence all the PTT’s, installers and equipment manufacturers were to be found in these countries. These systems were essentially long haul in nature and in the fullness of time built out to surrounding regions. Todays’ systems, fueled by the Internet and insatiable demand for social media, are echoing these trends as large data centers are being built almost on a daily basis and connected by long submarine links. These “hubs” will naturally be extended by “spokes” to distribute bandwidth to users Of course, this axis was naturally reflected in the attendance at the first SubOptic and the ensuing organization. Over the years SubOptic has been trying to throw off the shackles of its original constitution and reflecting the truly Global Nature of OUR business. We have seen SubOptic in Dubai 2016 and



after New Orleans 2019 the next will be in China/Far East in 2022. We have seen the Membership grow rapidly to over 50 Organizations and still growing fast. Now the Executive Committee agreed to support a Regional Ambassador initiative. This resulted in the appointment of many leading lights in regions of the world wherein there was significant industry but a relatively quiet voice! We have every hope that these ambassadors (see below) can raise the issues within their region and ensure that the debates in SubOptic 2019 reflect a truly global view. As we are in the Papers Submission phase we hope the Regional Ambassadors will encourage contributions from players (Operators, Suppliers and Academia) within their region Today the industry is facing a number of massive issues; Cyber Crime, Law of the Sea initiatives by the UN, International Territorial Disputes, the all-pervasive Internet to name a few. These are truly global issues and require a coherent voice to ensure that Our Industry maximizes our position in the forthcoming debates on these critical topics. STF

STUART BARNES gained an Honours Degree and PhD from London University. He has been an engineer and manager with 40 years experience in telecommunications, of which 30 years has been in submarine systems. His career spans the last years of analogue technology through to the latest coherent optical systems. He has been actively involved with all 3 phases of ownership starting with PTT’s, through Carriers Carrier through to today’s OTT era. Starting as a research engineer he was privileged to be involved in the first regenerative optical systems in both cable and repeater design. Then as Technical Director of STC he led the development of ASN’s new repeater and PFE (both in use today) and first WDM SLTE. In subsequent years he has been was involved in both new SLTE developments with Azea Networks and repeater developments with Xtera Communications Inc. He has attended the majority of SubOptic events since the inception, both authoring and sponsoring many publications. He was Chair of the Papers Committee when SubOptic was held in San Francisco and was an active participant in Dubai, helping Elaine Stafford prepare the closing ceremony. He was Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering at Southampton University and Advisor to the School of Photonics at Aston University KEITH RUSSELL Shaw is Vice President EMEA for Datacenter, Cloud, Subsea for EQUINIX and Vice Chair of Board of the Pacific Telecommunications Council, as well as leading and developing the ASEAN region for SubOptic 2019, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. He possesses a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from the University of London.




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n the new digital era conference attendee engagement is one of the key themes and is equally important as any other conference element to the conference management and planning industries. The human attention span is notoriously short, and if meeting planning does not account for this, we can quickly fall into information overload. As we are designing the SubOptic 2019 Conference, we are looking at all areas of the conference and evaluating the experience a typical attendee. We want to ensure that your experience at SubOptic 2019 is one where we create connections and encourage engagement in New Orleans. SubOptic 2019 will be about engagement and creating experiences to promote learning. Remember when the coolest thing at a trade show was the bingo game or scavenger hunt? You know, go to certain booths, get a stamp or get a new clue to another booth, and complete the game you collect a prize. The excitement and the BUZZ that that created? Could you imagine doing that today? Gamification and attendee engagement is nothing new. You may wonder



will SubOptic 2019 or my company need to create something to become more engaging on the on the exhibit floor. The short answer is yes! Adding features which create more attendee

We are designing SubOptic 2019 for participation. Traditionally, participation has been a job for committees, speakers, or the conference management team, but to increase conference attendee engagement it needs to be extended to the audience. engagement can lead to buzz, excitement, and an additional traffic to a booth. You may have an excellent location on the exhibit floor, but it may

Chris Noyes Conference Director STF Events

not be enough to create the buzz. But why does gamification succeed where content and high value may not? All of us naturally have the desire to compete and succeed. Gamification taps into that desire. Gamification is used to increase participation and improve retention, and used by many other industries such as retailers, employers and teachers. There are defining characteristics of a game: Goal (specific outcome); rules (limitations); feedback system and voluntary participation. How to add Attendee Engagement to a trade show and/or conference? • First is define the goal of the and purpose of what is the desired outcome • Drive traffic to the exhibit floor or booth • Drive traffic to your show’s website/ company website and social platforms • Increase Attendance experience The secondly determine the correct solution for your desired outcome. Some gaming solutions require some heavy lifting like integrating into their online, onsite registration systems.

Others are stand-alone and require no heavy lifting. If a company wanted to drive traffic to their booth at SubOptic 2019 it’s possible to coordinate a bag insert to drive to an attendee to the booth to collect giveaway. That’s an example of a simplest way to create attendee engagement, other have done tastings in their booth to draw people. The possibilities are endless. A quick search on the net will deliver up a myriad of ideas, if you would like assistance please contact us. We are designing SubOptic 2019 for participation. Traditionally, participation has been a job for committees, speakers, or the conference management team, but to increase conference attendee engagement it needs to be extended to the audience. To do this, we are working with Programme Committee to have speakers increase the use of use live polls, surveys, and gather feedback before and during conference sessions. We have developed presence on all the major social media platforms. We encourage everyone to start to follow SubOptic 2019 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Shutterfly. To help create engagement during the event we will be having a Social Media feed where comments from the social media sources will be able to be viewed. Our marketing team has been doing a great push through social media; this is your first opportunity to get engaged with SubOptic2019, like and follow SubOptic 2019 and share the information that we are distributing to increase knowledge about the conference. We have redesigned the Networking Lounge for SubOptic 2019. It

will no longer be stuffed in the back corner of the Exhibit Hall and we are creating a room that will allow for interaction between attendees. The space will feature comfortable furniture and a place to meet and discuss SubOptic 2019. You will be able to enjoy a comfortable place to take a break during the conference and can engage and networking with other attendees in the SubOptic 2019 Networking Lounge. The Networking Lounge can serve a great meeting spot for setting up quick meetings with other attendees that you want to meet. This can be accomplished with the conference APP. Currently in development and planned to be released in mid-September will be a newly designed conference APP for SubOptic 2019. The newly designed APP will allow for more interaction of each attendee. The APP will be paired with a LOOPD a little Bluetooth device will be with your name badge. The LOOPD tag will track you throughout the conference and will also allow exhibitors to easier collect your information if you choose. The system will know what sessions you attended and allow the attendee to give feedback on each of the sessions in real time. The APP and tags is the technology that speakers can integrate into their presentations for live polling or survey questions. Additionally, you will be able to send questions to the speakers directly; if you are apprehensive about asking a question you could do so anomalously. SubOptic 2019 is an opportunity for dynamic connections between profession-

als, not just between presenters and attendees, but in the industry as a whole. We are working to make it easy for individuals to get together. Here again, technology is vital with the new APP and the networking features in the APP is amazing. By allowing people to identify common ground and making it easy to interact with like-minded professionals, you’ll amplify the entire event experience. We are incorporating a great deal of new technology into SubOptic 2019, but the use of it depends on the attendees to embrace technology and use the features in the APP. The LOOPD devices will also allow you to share your contact information with other attendees and you will receive a daily email detailing all the contacts that you made for easy download. The driving force behind the technology is to improve your experience. However, the driving force behind SubOptic is the programs and speakers that will be at the conference. SubOptic 2019 is uniquely designed to ensure it meets the core objectives for attendees, which come to life throughout the education program and entire conference. The core objective of SubOptic 2019 is to deliver the industry’s best educational conference of the year and we are planning to take this a step future by incorporation themes in to the Coffee and Tea breaks that are built into the schedule. Each theme will enhance your experience by offering educational opportunities in non-traditional methods. That’s where we are so far… Watch for more soon. STF JULY 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.




NOW Australia, Solomon Islands To Ink Cable Contract Today

Tasmanian Govt Could Sue Over 2015-16 Basslink Failure

Vocus, Australia Sign AU$137m Subsea Cable Contract

Basslink ‘Strongly Denies’ It Owes Tasmanian Government

GCX Completes Data Center, Landing for Eagle

Tasmanian Govt Seeking AU$122m For Basslink Outage

St Helena Signs Agreement With EU for Submarine Cable

TE SubCom Signs South Pacific Maintenance Agreement

Cinia Says C-Fiber Hanko To Invest in Arctic Connect

Vietnam Internet Returns To Normal After AAG Repairs

Vanuatu Wants Australia To Fund Internet Cable

Basslink Interconnector Is Back After Two-Month Outage

Internet Cable Linking Australia, Solomon Islands In Doubt

CURRENT SYSTEMS Anacom Calls For Urgent Replacement Of Submarine Cables


BSNL To Enhance Bandwidth 400 Times In A&N Island First-Ever Southern Transatlantic Cable In Service Soon New Cable To Boost Telecoms In PNG, Solomon Islands NEC To Build The Bay To Bay Express Cable System

Equinix To Connect Vocus Cable In Australia, Singapore

Southern Cross Cable Landing Station Prep Complete

Equinix, Omantel To Build Data Center In Oman

NEC Signs Submarine Cable Deal With BSNL

FUTURE SYSTEMS TE SubCom To Build Cable Landing Infrastructure In LA

E-marine To Install MARS Cable For Huawei Marine


Vocus Kicks Off Subsea Cable Laying For ASC

RCom In Talks Over Enterprise Telecoms Sale

REANNZ Awards Hawaiki Cable Backhaul Contracts

RCom Could Exit India Following Asset Sale

Savusavu Cable System Ready For Service By June 21

Telecom Egypt Cuts Dividend For Submarine Cable Investment

SEAX-1 Ready For Provisional Acceptance

Telxius Opens New Network Operations Centre In Lima

EllaLink To Connect Cabo Verde With EU, LAT-AM

Prysmian Completes Acquisition of General Cable



RCom Reduces Employee Base By 94% Telefonica Considers Fixed Network Sale Seaborn Networks Appoints Mehmet Akcin To Board of Advisors

TECHNOLOGY & UPGRADES Seacom Upgrades Africa Subsea Cable System Microsoft Deploys Underwater Data Center


JULY 2018 | ISSUE 100



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ou’re nearing the finish line on our third issue of SubTel Forum since the significant format change. Are you finding the new content useful and interesting? Are you finding the new format to be easier to read and understand? But most importantly, did you enjoy it? We started Submarine Telecoms Forum Magazine in 2001 with the intent to bring a reliable platform for discourse to the industry, something that it sorely lacked at the time. In those days, our toes were at the cliff edge of a major downturn. While the proverbial writing was on the wall, it didn’t seem to be anywhere else. Not a single soul was so much as publicly talking about the potential pitfall mere meters from our collective feet. So we started this magazine to act a forum to discuss the concerns and opportunities that industry faced. Here we are, issue 101 and almost 18 years later. The magazine has gone through transformation after transformation, seen new authors, new entrants to the industry and generated a little buzz. Hopefully, this has been a place where you can find the pulse of the industry. I’m proud of where the magazine has come, and where it’s going. Moreover, I’m proud of our other publications like the Industry Report, which has participation from every single market in this industry, and our Almanac and Analytics, whose analysis has been quoted by investment firms around the world.


Here we are, issue 101 and almost 18 years later. The magazine has gone through transformation after transformation, seen new authors, new entrants to the industry and generated a little buzz. Hopefully, this has been a place where you can find the pulse of the industry. Where am I going with all this? The same place as always. Without your support, all of this couldn’t be possible. Only through our advertisers and tireless industry support have we been able to continue bringing you such high-quality analysis, opinion and data. If you like the new tone of the magazine, its excellent content and beautiful new design, I implore you to buy an ad placement. There isn’t a single avenue that serves this industry with better quality visibility or accessibility to decision making power. To wit, please see our new advertising Purchasing Portal on the SubTel

Forum site. We’re streamlining our processes to help focus on product and content development. Instead of worrying about the business Kristian Nielsen Vice President of running the business, we want to focus on bringing better quality products to bear. This new Purchasing Portal will help with that. The link: With adding this cool, new portal, we can use neat tools like promo codes that are added on registration. To celebrate this slick tool, you may use the following Promo Code for 15% off everything: STFSUMMERSALE Enter this code curing your registration to access a special product listing where everything is 15% off. Help us kick off the summer and gear up for the fall analytics season! STF Loyally yours,

Kristian Nielsen Vice President







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