According to Commsday and Telegeography, France Telecom (NYSE:FTE, news, filings) and its consortium partners have upgraded both the transatlantic TAT-14 cable and the SEA-ME-WE4 cable which connects Europe to the Middle East and southern Asia. TAT-14 now has doubled its lit capacity of 1.87Tbps, while SEA-ME-WE4 raised its capacity by 140%. Both cables thus should be able to keep pace with traffic growth for another year or two.
These upgrades continue a flurry of submarine cable activity in 2009. There has been Global Crossing’s various cables in the Atlantic and South America. The deployment of the new SEACOM and plans for the WACS cable along both coasts of Africa has added some excitement as well. Hibernia Atlantic’s direct extension to Northern Ireland hasn’t hurt either, and Pacnet has been making all sorts of noise in the far east as it upgrades is various cables there. And those are just a few, submarine cable projects of all types have been on the march all year. It’s almost enough to suggest that the market is, like, healthy or something.
Bandwidth growth is of course forcing things. In a way, it doesn’t matter if such projects make financial sense or not on their own. Large telecoms like France Telecom have to either upgrade, or drop out of the game – which is unthinkable as long as there is money somewhere. Nevertheless, it’s good to see all this activity – far better than the long drought after the last bubble burst.
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