The Scientific Monitoring and Reliable Telecommunications (SMART) initiative has passed a major milestone in the effort to bring scientific sensing to commercial submarine cable networks.

The Portugal State Budget Report for 2022 has formally implemented the Continent-Azores-Madeira (CAM) submarine fiber optic cable system and has specified that it will include the SMART component. 

The significance of this development is difficult to overstate.  It represents the first instance of a government fully committing to SMART and CAM will now be the first submarine cable to enter service using SMART technology. 

“SMART is underway.  This is a great accomplishment that all of the JTF has contributed to.  Thank you Portugal!” said Bruce Howe, professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and chair of the Joint Task Force (JTF), ITU/WMO/IOC SMART Cables for Observing the Ocean. 

The following is the relevant excerpt from the budget, as shown in a summary document prepared by Professor Howe, with the help of José Barros, of Portugal’s telecom regulatory authority, ANACOM:

The objectives inherent to the implementation of EU Data-Gateway Platforms and the establishment of the EU Atlantic Data-Gateway Platform centered on Portugal will be addressed, namely:

  • Implementing the necessary measures for the implementation of the CAM Ring (Mainland, Azores, Madeira) for submarine cable communications;
  • Reinforcing initiatives in the field of research, development and implementation of the SMART component in submarine cables (sensing and data processing), aiming at a position of Portuguese leadership in this area;
  • Improving the attractiveness and competitiveness conditions for the landing of submarine cables in Portugal, fine-tuning its legal framework and promoting the streamlining of licensing processes;