Last month we interviewed Steve Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Deep Blue Cable, a new player in the Caribbean region and the first pan-regional cable system to be developed in the last ten years. Apart from looking to disrupt the market with changing existing business models, the team prides itself in deploying the latest submarine fibre technology to give it an edge over the region’s other systems, most which are ageing . We spoke to Alasdair Wilkie, Chief Technical Officer of Deep Blue who shared more.
- Give us an overview of Deep Blue Cable and your role in the organization
Deep Blue Cable is the developer, owner and operator of a state-of-the-art subsea fibre-optic system providing connectivity across the Caribbean islands and to the Americas. Spanning approximately 12,000 km, the initial landing points of the Deep Blue cable system will be in 12 markets throughout the region, including the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, with dual diverse landings in the U.S., which will include the first landing of a cable on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
As Chief Technical Officer, I oversee the Deep Blue cable from initial stages all the way through the processes of installation and commissioning.
- What need does Deep Blue Cable meet in the Caribbean?
By ensuring competitive pricing and resilience through alternative supply, the Deep Blue cable will release Caribbean island-based companies that are locked into decades-old agreements with single supplier and consortium model cable systems that favour the operator. Deep Blue’s advantages over these older systems include significantly higher design capacity, lower unit costs, lower latency through direct connectivity, and the ability to leverage advancements in reliability, including improved route planning and installation techniques.
- Please describe the technical aspect of the cable: What’s the data capacity — the length and when do you plan to go live?
The Deep Blue subsea cable network will offer an initial capacity of 6 Tbps per fibre pair and is projected to be ready for service in Q4 2019.
- Which technology and equipment partners are you leveraging and why?
Deep Blue Cable has contracted with TE SubCom to build and deploy the Deep Blue subsea cable system. The Deep Blue cable system will be a network providing direct fibre connectivity between major traffic hubs, as well as optical add/drop connectivity to many smaller markets throughout the region. Using TE SubCom’s proven OADM (optical add/drop multiplexer) branching unit technology, Deep Blue Cable can cost-effectively supply international bandwidth across a range of Caribbean markets, large and small, in a scalable manner over time.
- What do you see as the key drivers for submarine cable systems over the next five years and how will cables change to meet these new demands?
Focussing on the Caribbean, bandwidth demand is strong, and high growth is forecasted to continue due to investment in fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure. Also, off-island capacity demand is growing across the region at between 30 and 45 percent annually. And yet, there has been no new pan-regional fibre-optic deployment in the last ten years. Moreover, some of the region’s primary undersea cable links, such as the Eastern Caribbean Fibre System (ECFS), have already exceeded their planned technical lifespan of 20 years.
Deep Blue’s adoption of the latest submarine fibre technology give it a significant advantage over the region’s other multinational systems. The Deep Blue cable will satisfy not only the current spike in demand for connectivity in developing Caribbean countries, but also future requirements driven by projected growth.
Alasdair will be participating in two panels “New network topologies for a next-gen Internet” and “Relooking at maintenance models to achieve greater efficacy”, both happening on Day 2 of Submarine Networks World 2017 (25-27 September, Singapore) alongside the following speakers:
Join them 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: