This morning saw the project launch announcement of another brand new Transatlantic cable system. AquaComms and TE SubCom have kicked off the build of AEConnect, which they expect to be ready for service in December of this year. AEConnect will land out on Long Island in Shirley, NY and on the northwest coast of Ireland at Killala. The 5,400km route will then offer connectivity on to London via CeltixConnect across the Irish Sea.
AquaComms is a new name to me, but the underlying players are not. AquaComms is now the parent of Sea Fibre Networks, which built CeltixConnect, and incorporates people and plans from the former Emerald Express/Emerald Networks project -- including landing licenses and probably surveys and such.
That original project never got the funding it needed, but had connectivity to Iceland in mind which AEConnect's announcement today didn't mention. Yet AEConnect will have stubbed branching units for future landings, and regulatory filings suggest one of those is surely earmarked for an extension to Iceland.
The price tag for AEConnect will be about $300M, and to pay for it, rumor has it they've brought in some heavy hitters from the content world. For instance, I don't think it's an accident that Apple recently announced building a major data center in Athenry, Ireland -- which just happens to lie along one of AEConnect's terrestrial routes in western Ireland, and otherwise would be rather off the beaten track when it comes to fiber access.
If they in fact get this cable ready-for-service by December, then along with Hibernia's project 2015 will see two new transatlantic cables come online after some 14 years of living off of the buildouts of the dot-com bubble, augmented by better and better electronics. But it sounds as if they'd have those cable ships in the North Atlantic during Hurricane season, so the weather could shift the schedule around I'd think (at least it doesn't require dodging pirates in the Red Sea like SEACOM did a few years back).
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