|The datacenters' industry prevailing model has been to concentrate the datacenters (DCs) in the northen hemisphere and invest heavily in submarine cables to suck the data from faraway to store and process in Europe and the US.|
But the data volumes are growing too fast and the Easy Money years are ending.
The industry is likely not have the CAPEX -as Easy money comes to a halt- to keep bulding submarine cables to keep up with the data demand
Expect the industry to spread the geography of their DCs.
See the example of Latin America
Spotlight: Latin America’s next submarine cables
BnamericasPublished: Wednesday, July 20, 2022
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Latin America will see major submarine cable projects come into operation in the next few years, helping to boost the small number currently connecting to the region.
The world has nearly 510 fiber submarine cables for data transportation in operation or under development, according to the TeleGeography database. Roughly 70 connect to Latin America, or 13.7%, which is deemed far from sufficient by experts.
Speaking at a webinar in May, Latin American development bank CAF’s digital infrastructure chief Eduardo Chomali said that over 30 submarine cables would have to be built in Latin America in the next decade to meet increasing connectivity demands.
According to Chomali, Latin America is connected by 68 submarine cables, which has increased the region's capacity five-fold in the last 20 years. However, 23 of these are more than 15 years old and 18 are over 20 and approaching the end of their 25-year useful life, he said.
While 30 new systems in 10 years may seem difficult to achieve, several new projects reaching and leaving Latin American shores are on track for the next years.
BNamericas provides an update on some of the submarine cable projects expected to see daylight soon.
Estimated ready-for-service date: 4Q22
US-headquartered telecom and digital infrastructure firm GigNet, largely focused on connectivity projects in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is advancing the launch of GigNet-1, a 1,100km submarine cable to connect Cancún with Boca Raton in the US.
The project has seen the completion of the desktop route survey, regulatory and permitting feasibility studies for both Florida and Mexico, market demand and analysis studies, selection and contracting of key suppliers for the system design, equipment, and installation, as well as the marine survey.
The installation of the cable was commissioned to IT International Telecom and US submarine systems developer Xtera, which is also supplying fiber and amplifiers (repeaters) and the submarine line terminals in Florida and Mexico.
The system is known as the first new subsea cable from Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula in over 20 years.
In Mexico, GigNet already operates a 250km cable that goes from Cancún to Tulum and it will be the major tenant on the GigNet-1 system, providing IP transit and connectivity throughout the region.
Estimated ready-for-service date: 1Q23
First announced in 2017 and owned by FP Telecommunications, the Aurora cable system is expected to go live in the first quarter of next year, running 5,500km from West Florida to Manta in Ecuador, with landing points in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, the Cayman Islands and Colombia.
Aurora is being supplied by Nokia's subsidiary Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and it will require an investment of US$310mn, according to the latest available information.
Its development status has not been updated since at least 2020 and, as of press time, BNamericas had not been able to confirm the latest status of the project.
According to some reports, FPT would be the developer of the cable, but not its operator, with maintenance costs being shouldered by customers purchasing fiber pairs.
GALAPAGOS CABLE SYSTEMS (GCS)
Estimated ready-for-service date: 2Q23
Galapagos Cable Systems (GCS), the Singaporean company in charge of the namesake project, and Xtera, signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract in October last year for the build-out of a 1,280km cable from the mainland to the Galapagos islands.
The contract triggered the project’s execution through the permitting and design phase, and the marine survey in early 2022.
State-run telco CNT in Ecuador will become one of the system’s main anchor-tenants once it is operational. The main purpose of the system is to enable the development of scientific research, commerce, tourism and education in Galapagos.
“A key benefit of the system is to provide the Galapagos archipelago with high capacity and high quality national and international telecommunications services, both fixed and mobile, fiber optic broadband internet, and 4G mobile services with 5G in the future,” according to a release from Xtera.
With a design capacity of 20 terabytes per second, the project is expected to come into service in the second quarter of 2023, with an investment of US$50mn.
GCS said that the cable has the capacity to increase Galapagos' GDP by some 25%.
In addition to Xtera, which will provide optical solutions, NSW/Prysmian will manufacture the cable and IT International Telecom will be in charge of marine installation.
Estimated ready-for-service date: 2023
Google’s Firmina, the company’s second proprietary continental submarine cable in Latin America – that is, for its exclusive use – will connect the US east coast to Las Toninas in Argentina, with landing points in Praia Grande in Brazil and Punta del Este in Uruguay.
Google is also the full owner and operator of Curie, a cable launched in 2019 that is running from Chile to the US.
The company also operates three submarine systems connected to Brazil: the cables Monet, which runs from Santos/Praia Grande to Boca Raton, Florida; Junior, from Santos to Rio de Janeiro; and Tannat, from Santos to Maldonado in Uruguay.
The cables went live in 2017, 2018 and 2021, respectively.
Of these, Monet and Tannat are owned in a consortium with other companies and Junior is fully owned by Google.
Construction of the Firmina submarine cable, which is scheduled to become operational next year, is part of a five-year US$1.2bn investment plan for Latin America.
In May last year, it was reported that Google had bought a 30ha property for a datacenter project at Uruguay’s Pando science and technology park in capital Montevideo.
The Uruguayan government confirmed at the time that it had been engaged in talks with Google for such a project. On its part, Google do not comment on such developments.
Estimated ready-for-service date: 3Q25
Caribbean Express (CX) is being developed by Atlanta-based Ocean Networks, an expert in installation and maintenance of submarine cables with a focus on repurposing out-of-service cables for scientific research.
The 4,500km system will connect Points of Presence (PoP) between Boca Raton (Florida) and Maria Chiquita/Corozal (Panama), with branch connections to Mexico (Cancún), Grand Cayman (Health City), Honduras (Puerto Cortés), Costa Rica (Limón) and Colombia (Cartagena).
The company has not disclosed who its suppliers are but says CX will use the latest Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology, and have 18 fiber pairs at a minimum of 18 terabytes per pair.
Ocean Networks also says that CX will be the only cable in the Caribbean region to offer full fiber pairs to the market.
The company provided the following estimated station-to-station roundtrip latency for the system:
Boca Raton - Corozal: 29.38ms
Boca Raton - Cartagena: 29.76ms
Boca Raton - Cancún: 11.60ms
Source: Ocean Networks
CARNIVAL SUBMARINE NETWORK-1 (CSN-1)
Estimated launch: 2025
Ecuadoran telecom firm Telconet and ASN signed a supply contract in March and announced the beginning of the construction of Carnival Submarine Network-1 (CSN-1).
When ready, CSN-1 will run 4,500km from Ecuador to Florida’s west coast, with landing points in Panama and Colombia. The system will rely on ASN’s SDM Open-Cable technology solutions.
According to ASN, Telconet has also relied on the services of DRG Undersea Consulting to support the implementation of CSN-1.
In addition to the two stretches planned, the project could also see landing points in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico, according to Telconet.
In addition to CSN-1, Telconet is one of the owners of the PAN-AM cable, the first submarine cable of Ecuador, and the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS).
The Guayaquil-based firm’s Cable Andino is the owner of PCCS together with Telxius, C&W and SETAR. Telconet and DRG also worked together during the construction of PCCS.