Submarine Cables To Paradise

April 25th, 2011 by · Leave a Comment

So many cable projects these days hooking up far flung corners of the planet with vast amounts of capacity.  There have been the New Zealand to Los Angeles effort by Pacific Fibre, and the recently proposed Brazil-Africa cable too.  Then there are all those cables to Africa going on.  Key in such cases is obviously strategic interests by national governments.  But there have been much smaller projects to even more exotic destination also, and Alcatel-Lucent has picked up two such contracts this Spring already. 

One is for a new system connecting the Seychelles to Tanzania.  The Seychelles are one of the more remote destinations I know of, way off in the Indian ocean.  The 1930km route that will cost a surprisingly low $35M according to those involved – does that include naval protection against Somalian pirates too?  I sort of doubt it.  But it will be financed in part by a loan from the European Investment Bank and a grant from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, and believing budgetary numbers for such projects is a very good way to lose a bet anyway.

They are also on tap to build out to the tiny nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.  The $30M, 1230km system will connect Port Vila to Suva over in Fiji, where it will link directly into the Southern Cross cable.  Initial capacity will be 20Gbps, with expansion to 320Gbps.  Not that they’ll need it, the whole place works off 100Mbps right now.  They might add on a link from Vanuatu to New Caledonia as well, which would give both countries some bandwidth diversity.

Neither cable is going to be pushing lots of bits, but when the alternative is satellite and you want to grow then I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.   Hopefully the folks on those Alcatel-Lucent ships will get a bit of shore leave.

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Categories: Undersea cables

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