Undersea Tidbits 10/7: Southern Cross, Elettra, and Kenya

October 7th, 2010 by · 3 Comments

The Pacific cable system Southern Cross has extended its own expected lifetime, according to an article over on Subtel Forum.  The system connects the west coast of the US with Australia and New Zealand by way of Hawaii.  The consortium operating the cable now intends to keep doing so until at least November 2025, tacking on another 5 years past the previous date.  The extra time is due to technology advances and the durability of the modern generation of undersea fiber.  The next upgrade is anticipated in 18-36 months with 40Gbps technology that will bring the total capacity up to 9.6Tbps.

On the other side of the planet, France Telecom (NYSE:FTE, news, filings) its subsidiary FT Marine are purchasing Elettra - the submarine cable subsidiary of Telecom Italia.  Essentially, that means two cable ships and their crews will change hands:  the Certamen which is based in the Mediterranean, and the Teliri which moves around the world laying new cables.  That will add 50% to the size of current fleet of four ships operated by FT Marine.  I'm always amazed by how few actual ships there are that maintain all those undersea cables out there.

And finally, the proliferation of cables in East Africa is apparently leading to something of a price war in Kenya, according to a Telegeography report.  Well, if you go from satellite uplinks to multiple terabyte cable systems, one can expect the competitive landscape to shift rather abruptly.  The players in Kenya's wholesale market include Kenya Data Systems, Telkom Kenya, Safaricom, Jamii Telecoms, and Access Kenya.  Wow, last week I knew only one of those names.

Categories: Undersea cables

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