Interview with Mike Cunningham, Ireland-France Subsea Cable (IFSC)

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January 2016 saw the announcement of a partnership between Ireland-France Subsea Cable (IFSC) and Tiger infrastructure to finance and construct IFC-1, a submarine fiber-optic cable system that will be the first and only direct subsea cable between Ireland and France. We spoke briefly with IFSC’s Chairman Mike Cunningham, an experienced telecoms entrepreneur whose work spans stints in Arctic Fibre, Speak Telecom and currently Crosslake Fibre and Quintillion who shared about the project and his thoughts on the industry.

  1. Tell us more about yourself (and your organisation)

I am one of the founders of Ireland-France Subsea Cable and am currently the Chairman of the company.  My background is in finance and telecom, specifically in the subsea industry for the last seven years.  IFSC is developing a subsea cable system from Ireland to France.  It will be the first system to connect Ireland, home to the two most recent TransAtlantic cables and a data centre hub in western Europe, directly to continental Europe.

  1. In one sentence, how would you describe the state of the subsea communications industry today?

The subsea communications industry is experiencing tremendous growth after the long winter following the dot com bust.  It is an exciting time.

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

There will be fewer new TransOceanic projects announced and built as current projects come to fruition, provide new supply to the market, and round out the requirements of the OTTs.  Financing new projects today requires them to be largely de-risked.  This will certainly continue for the foreseeable future and further drive collaboration between private developers, carriers and OTTs to bring new cables to market.

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

Getting the requisites in place to get a project over the finish line is always the challenge.  OTTs, carriers, and private developers face different challenges in getting the required requisites in place to bring a new cable to fruition.  OTTs need to find increasingly rare partners; carriers need to make the economics work, and private developers face the chicken and egg situation of getting enough pre-sales over the finish line to attract the capital.  I think these challenges are addressed through increased collaboration between these different players in the market on individual projects where each segment has an interest.

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

It is my first time attending Submarine Networks World and I am very excited to attend.  There is a great line up of people attending and speaking and I think it will be a very productive conference for IFSC.


Mike will  be participating in the panel “Financing tomorrow’s cables” on 27th September alongside the following speakers at Submarine Networks World 2017  (25-27 September, Suntec Singapore Convention Centre).


Join him together with over 500 industry leaders at the only annual platform dedicated for the subsea communications community to meet, exchange knowledge and develop new strategies and partnerships.

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

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

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