Interview with Robert Richardson, Xtera

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In early 2017, H.I.G Capital acquired the assets of Xtera Communications and relaunched the company as Xtera. Since then, the company has shifted its focus solely on the submarine market, including subsea cable upgrades, new builds, and the recovery and redeployment of systems. Since its formation, Xtera has been introducing new products into the market and looks to continue maximising and pushing beyond the capabilities of today’s subsea cable technology to better serve its customers.

We recently spoke with Robert Richardson, Xtera’s Founder and Chief Sales Officer, who discussed Xtera’s perspective on the current subsea market and the company’s outlook for the future.,

  1. How would you describe the state of the subsea communications industry today?

There is a lot of demand and fluctuation within the subsea industry today, most notably in the rise of data center-to-data center connectivity, a simple and straightforward idea that is now catching on. If you really want to get the traffic inland, the smart thing to do is to locate the submarine terminal inland at the data center or PoP, rather than having the submarine terminal close to the beach connecting to a terrestrial terminal at the beach and in the data center or PoP. At Xtera, we’re taking some of the electronics used in a subsea repeater and putting them into a dry unit that can be used pretty much anywhere.

  1. How do you see the industry evolving in the next 5 years?

The demand for new cable systems on a regional level will increase significantly. Our immediate goal at Xtera is to deploy as many systems in the water as possible while successfully demonstrating our advanced undersea technology, so we have a record of delivery and reliability that we can successfully build upon. We’ve been looking at regional networks in and around the Asia-Pacific, the Atlantic, the Middle East and the Caribbean regions. There’s great interest in the Pacific to connect islands that are only served by satellite. There’s a lot of development banks and other sources of financing that are assisting some of these island countries in getting themselves connected by a cable.

When it comes to submarine projects, the marketplace has been somewhat conservative and Xtera needs to communicate the benefits of its innovative technology more clearly.

  1. What do you think is one key challenge facing the industry today? How do you think it can be overcome?

I think communicating regularly and effectively to the marketplace is a core issue facing the industry today. When it comes to submarine projects, the marketplace has been somewhat conservative and Xtera needs to communicate the benefits of its innovative technology more clearly. I believe winning new projects will demonstrate that we’re a company that is financially strong and here for the long term, with market leading technology.

  1. Why are you excited to be at Submarine Networks World 2017?

To meet with subsea communications decision makers in an environment where one can freely exchange knowledge, learn about the latest cable projects in development, and form new partnerships is an invaluable opportunity for Xtera. Moreover, this year’s conference theme, “Breaking Boundaries,” resonates deeply with our company’s mission. Xtera creates novel solutions that are suited for each individual customer, and we strive to challenge the norm and to provide more reliable and higher quality products over new and existing routes. Our technology innovation is underpinned by leading-edge research and development, and the Submarine Networks World event is an exceptional platform at which to showcase that focus and commitment in our products and services.

  1. Xtera will also be participating in this year’s conference programme. Can you give us an overview on what they’ll be sharing?

Two of Xtera’s executives will be speaking on panels this year at Submarine Networks World.

Tony Frisch, Xtera CTO, plans to talk about some of the points that need to be considered in the technical specification and acceptance procedures that will be needed for Open systems. Tony also hopes to show how a multi-vendor solution can be a good one.

On the other panel, Joerg Schwartz, Xtera’s Senior Vice President, Turnkey Systems, will be discussing the options and implications behind lower-cost subsea fibre builds: what is gained and what is lost. Proposals made include disaggregated supply models, or reducing the system lifespan and other technical specifications.  Joerg, along with the other panelists, will examine what can reasonably be done to bring down the cost of systems, technically and commercially, what customers are willing to accept, and how suppliers, such as Xtera, can meet those needs and provide innovative solutions.


Meet Robert and the Xtera team at Booth #23 at Submarine Networks World 2017 (25-27 September, Singapore), and be sure to catch Tony and Joerg on stage during their respective panel sessions “Evaluating the business of an “Open Network” and “Building cable systems at a lower costs, how much are you willing to give up?”,  both taking place on 26th September.

Xtera will also be hosting Day One’s evening cocktail reception, happening at BACCARAT @ Suntec City (6-8PM). The cocktail is open for all to attend so remember to bring along your name cards as there’ll be a lucky draw session with great prizes to be won!

For more information, download the latest conference brochure.  Early bird discounts are still available, so get your passes here

Keen to learn more? Get in touch with the team:

Hazel Chen | +65 6322 2730
Regina Koh | +65 6322 2308


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