Earlier in 2017 Sunil Tagare, Founder & CEO of OpenCables Inc, announced plans for a Brexit cable: a cable that will traverse the Atlantic from New York to Marseille, bypassing the United Kingdom. Is this another missed business opportunity for Britain in a time of political chaos, or were there more practical reasons behind its routing away from London? We interviewed Sunil to find out more.
Q. Sunil, what is the rationale for this cable system?
A. Brexit-1 will be the lowest latency cable from New York to Marseille which means connecting the stock markets in New York to those in Singapore, Mumbai and Dubai. This cable will be a connectivity cable — connecting two dozen cables in Marseille from East Africa, Asia and the Middle East and also connecting in Lisbon to countries of West Africa to the United States without going through London.
Q. What is the rationale behind bypassing the UK?
A. At a time of chaos around Brexit, we believe it is virtually impossible to know how the situation will shake out over the next few years. The best bet right now, is to avoid UK completely and go directly to New York.
Q. Can you give some insights into the design of the cable project?
A. The cable will be a 4-fiber cable and initial capacity will be around 20 Tbps. The cable will be a power feed equipment (PFE) to PFE cable thereby enabling customers to upgrade to any technology at their own choosing.
Q. Are there plans for extensions and/or additional landing points in the near future?
A. This is the first cable to connect Bordeaux to New York so there was apprehension about the route. Initially we wanted to land the cable directly in Marseille but customers wanted to land in Bordeaux for latency reasons.
Q. How is the cable equipped to meet the physical challenges (e.g. potential cable cuts caused by competitive seabed users or environmental threats) faced by submarine cables?
A. We were especially wary of plotting a course through the Straits of Gibraltar, which is a very narrow and congested channel of water. In the end, we chose instead to bypass this location, and so managed to significantly reduce risk.
Q. Who are the turnkey suppliers involved in this project?
A. We are currently talking to ASN and TE Subcom regarding the supply contract.
THE SING-INDIA-SING CABLE
In addition to the European-American cabling system, Tagare has also recently announced a second cable that will connect Tuas in Singapore to Mumbai, India. Named Sing-India-Sing, the cable will extend from the Sify Station in Versova, Mumbai to the Equinix data centre in Singapore. There will be further branching units available for extensions to Sri Lanka, Chennai and Thailand.
The Sing-India-Sing cable will directly serve the enterprise customers and ISPs based in India to connect to the outside world. The system design is based on 18Tbps and is a 3-fiber pair cable. Tagare has said the cable will only sell full fiber pairs and that customers will be able to manage their own equipment and upgrade as and when they want.
Asked what motivations lay behind the development of this project, Sunil responded: I am a huge supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a Digital India and my goal is very simple: To make India one of the most important hubs of bandwidth in the world.
This article is part of a series of 15 interviews with leading cable project owners around the world, which we’ve compiled into the ebook “Submarine Networks Projects 2017”. Download a free copy of it here.
If you’d like to meet these cable owners and operators together with other leaders from the industry, you should join us at Submarine Networks World 2018, which takes place 24 – 26 September in Singapore. Firmly established as the must-attend annual meeting for industry players from all around the world, preparations are already underway for another year of inspiring ideas, extensive networking and lively debates, with a conference programme covering key industry issues ranging from New Demand Drivers to Marine Operations, as well as a brand new Innovation Zone featuring presentations on the latest R&D projects.
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