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New Submarine Cable Systems

How is the submarine fiber optic cable industry doing in 2016?
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Friday, 22 July 2016 18:03

The submarine fiber optic cable industry has had more than its share of ups and downs in its roughly 30-year history, so it is always interesting to take a moment to consider where it stands today.  We look at two metrics when judging the health of the industry: new contract award announcements and new project announcements.  The first indicates how much business there is for the suppliers, the second is a measure of the industry’s optimism for being able to develop and finance new cable systems in the future. 

So where do we stand?  Cable contract announcements for the first half of 2016 are down by about 50% from the same period last year, while new project announcements are up by the same amount.

What does this mean?  While new awards are down, the previous two years were very strong and the current downturn is probably nothing more than the industry “catching its breath.”  More significantly, the huge increase in projects coming into development shows a high level of enthusiasm.  Not all will go to contract, but there should be enough entering the pipeline to keep the industry growing at a significant rate.

The second half of 2016 could tell us much more about the state of the industry.  If contract award totals rebound or even just remain at the current level, things should continue to look bright.  If they slump further or if a number of already-contracted-for projects run into difficulty, there could be factors coming into play that would be a cause for concern down the road. 

Subscribe to the Submarine Cable World NewsFeed to follow the industry on a daily basis and see how the year develops.

Angola Cables commends Ocean Specialists’ role in subsea cable project development
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Thursday, 21 April 2016 12:39

Following their recent announcement of a partnership that will install over 17,000km of new subsea cable directly connecting Angola, Brazil and the United States, Angola Cables has affirmed and praised Ocean Specialists, Incorporated (OSI) for the highly strategic role the subsea cable advisory and project management firm has played in the design and development of Angola Cables’ global network build out. 

Angola Cables, with the strategic and operational support of OSI, has initiated two innovative new subsea cable networks.  The first, known as the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) links Angola with Brazil, is already under construction and marks the first South Atlantic modern D-WDM fiber optic cable network in history.  The second, the recently announced Monet cable network, will further connect Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil and Boca Raton, Florida, providing onward connectivity to Angola via SACS.  The Brazil-US network is currently under construction in partnership with Algar Telecom (Brazil), Antel (Uruguay) and Google.

Subsea telecommunications cable networks are critical to global voice and data communications, and carry over 98% of the worlds’ telecommunications traffic.  High-speed fiber optic networks are essential to both businesses and consumers, and allow real-time access to apps, social media, websites and other bandwidth intensive services.  As the most efficient way to transmit information between continents and cities, fiber optic cables provide added benefits of security and reliability that are indispensable to both telecom service providers and their enterprise customers.

“The design and implementation of a subsea cable network is a highly specialized undertaking, and OSI, as our partner in network development from the very beginning of the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) discussions, has been instrumental to our success.  From providing an initial economic viability analysis and network development strategy to evaluating investment options and network design, and then on to running a competitive tender process and rigorous evaluation process for our network contractor, OSI has been absolutely critical in supporting Angola Cables as we execute our regional and global strategy,” stated Antonio Nunes, CEO, Angola Cables.

“With their existing ownership in the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Angola Cables’ network build out across the Atlantic and on to the United States is an important piece in its Tier 1 global connectivity strategy,” stated Tom Soja, Vice President, OSI and Strategic Advisor to Angola Cables.  “The SACS and Monet networks, combined with the existing WACS network, place Angola in an excellent position to function as the ‘hub’ of Africa’s regional communications needs.”

Angola Cables has extended OSI’s five-year relationship and responsibilities to the project implementation phase which will carry the company’s involvement through to the final acceptance and initial O&M of the new subsea network. OSI – the industry’s leading submarine cable project management and delivery firm – has actively led and directed these two major supply contracts on behalf of Angola Cables, from project feasibility and funding to network build and installation, contracting two leading suppliers in the undersea cable industry for final project completion.

OSI’s team combines unequalled subsea cable development experience throughout the planning, design, procurement and installation phases of a subsea network development.  OSI minimizes project and network risk and maximizes return on investment to ensure project success. 

OSI provides Subsea Cable Network:

  • Planning including business case analysis, financial structure analysis, life-cycle planning and partner identification;
  • Design to fully consider and mitigate all risks, maximize system reliability and develop feasible budgetary targets;
  • Procurement using our teams’ vast experience working both for and with major industry suppliers; Installation & Commissioning from factory acceptance and quality assurance to ship reps and transmission experts;
  • Operations & Maintenance during initial commercial traffic and circuit turn-up and wet plant repair planning & contracting.
Schedule of upcoming conferences of interest to the submarine cable industry
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:12

As we noted earlier, there are a number of major conferences specifically for, or related to, the submarine cable industry in the upcoming months.  Here is a brief rundown:


3/16-21, Dubai

THE conference for the submarine cable industry, held once every three years


3/20-24, Anaheim, California

The annual Optical Fiber Communications Conference, a technology conference that often includes recent developments in submarine cable transmission technology



International Telecoms Week is the world’s largest meeting for the global wholesale telecommunications community

Aqua Comms to Present in Submarine Cable Workshop at PTC'16
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Thursday, 14 January 2016 10:14

Aqua Comms Limited (AquaComms), a provider of scalable, subsea capacity-based network solutions, announces today that its Chief Operations Officer, Greg Varisco, will participate in a workshop at PTC’16 taking place 17–20 January 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort. Mr. Varisco will present at the conference’s “Submarine Cable Workshop: Waves of Change!” on Sunday, 17 January, at 11 am at Coral 2.

Organized by the David Ross Group, an international consultancy that specializes in undersea telecommunications networks, the Submarine Cable Workshop will examine how submarine cables comprise the critical infrastructure for the modern world of communications, carrying over 98% of intercontinental data traffic. Alongside executives from TE SubCom, Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Microsoft and TeleGeography, Mr. Varisco will explore how subsea cables, including Aqua Comms’ America Europe Connect (AEConnect), one of the first transatlantic cables constructed between New York City and London in nearly 15 years, provide a web of comprehensive connectivity, reliability and redundancy.

Subtitled “The Changing Global Cable Map, What’s Next?” the Submarine Cable Workshop will also address the huge volumes of demand from Over-the-Top (OTT) content providers and the effects these demands will have on building the network of the future.

SEA-ME-WE 5 lands in Malaysia
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Monday, 11 January 2016 09:36

As reported in Friday's Submarine Cable World NewsFeed, NEC has successfully landed the SEA-ME-WE 5 cable in Melaka, Malaysia.  NEC is responsible for the deployment of SEA-ME-WE 5 from Singapore to Sri Lanka.  Below are some photos of the landing.


NEC SMW5 image

NEC SMW5 image 2

SEACOM celebrates sixth "Foundation Day"
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:24

It is always nice to highlight the philanthropic side of the submarine cable industry.  East African submarine fiber optic cable operator SEACOM celebrated the sixth anniversary of its commercial launch by spending time with – and providing support to – local communities in the African countries where it has a direct presence.  Check out the details of SEACOM's work by using the following link:

The latest in a trend: Apple to build own network
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 15:51

Here is a development that submarine fiber optic cable owners should take note of.  According to Bloomberg Business, Apple is planning to build its own high-speed fiber optic network (see 

Right now, according to the report, Apple is only looking to connect its US data centers, but this could be the first step to acquiring large quantities of international submarine cable capacity, as other content providers have. 

Last month, Microsoft announced plans to buy capacity on three new transoceanic submarine cable projects, joining a consortium in one case and becoming a foundation customer in the other two.  Google and Facebook have joined a number of cable consortia in recent years.  Hetzner, a leading German content provider and data center operator, also jumped into the cable ownership business by joining a Baltic cable project earlier this year. 

We will only see more evidence of this trend in coming years as content providers are driven by exploding demand to acquire greater and greater amounts of capacity.  As this happens the providers will want to exert more control over that capacity by getting in on the ground floor of new cable systems.

Global submarine network expands into non-traditional routes
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Friday, 05 June 2015 13:50

There have been a number of announcements of new submarine fiber optic cable projects this year.  Many serve the high-volume routes we are familiar with (transatlantic, transpacific, etc.), but we are seeing cables connecting developing markets more and more frequently through far less traditional routes.

The most recent of these is a cable system known as MCT, which will link Cambodia to Malaysia and Thailand.  This new cable, funded by Telekom Malaysia and two non-traditional players – Cambodia’s Telcotech and Thailand’s Symphony—will be capable of supplying huge amounts of  bandwidth to bandwidth-hungry Cambodia, which does not yet have an international submarine cable connection.. 

So far in 2015, several other new cable systems have been announced or contracted for in what we could consider non-traditional routes.  These include:

  • Hawaii-Panama-Chile
  • Algeria-Spain
  • Australia-Djibouti
  • Ireland-France

This is just another example of the global submarine fiber optic cable network continuing to stretch across the globe, while submarine cable operators look to increase the reliability and redundancy of the network, as well as reach new and emerging markets.

Pension funds are investing in submarine cables
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Thursday, 07 May 2015 10:45

In our Radar Screen Report, we discussed how the increased availability of funding has impacted the growth in demand for new submarine fiber optic cable systems.  This funding is coming from a variety of non-traditional sources, including pension funds.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how pension funds are investing in infrastructure in Africa, with a particular focus on their involvement in submarine cable projects.  You can read the entire article online at

Emerald Express transatlantic cable now AEConnect
Submarine Cable NewsFeed - New Submarine Cable Systems
Monday, 27 April 2015 07:47

A major development in the submarine fiber optic market occurred recently with the coming into force of a supply contract for a new transatlantic cable.  The story of this project follows.

Back in 2011, Emerald Networks was formed to build a transatlantic cable connecting the United States, Iceland and Ireland.  The company contracted with TE SubCom to supply the project and made a number of announcements that seemed to indicate that it was making progress in building what would have been the first new transatlantic cable since the early years of this century, including a capacity purchase agreement with CenturyLink, the third largest telecom carrier in the US.

Ultimately, however, Emerald was not able to raise the necessary funding for the project, but the project re-emerged last week with a new name.

In a recent FCC filing, the landing license for Emerald Express was transferred to a new entity, America Europe Connect Licenses Limited (AECL), and the name of the cable system was officially changed to AEConnect. The supply contract previously award to SubCom also came into force for the newly-renamed system.  The cable now will link the US and Ireland.

AECL is controlled by Aqua Ventures International, a UAE-based investment holdings firm with a portfolio of investments in telecommunications, media and technology.  Last year, Aqua Ventures made a significant investment in Sea Fibre Networks, which owns and operates CeltixConnect, a subsea cable linking Ireland and the United Kingdom.  Aqua Ventures also was the leading investor in Emerald Networks.

AEConnect now joins the Hibernia Express cable as transatlantic cables under development.  Hibernia’s cable, also supplied by SubCom, has begun the installation process and will enter service later this year.  AEConnect is scheduled to enter service by the end of the year..

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