Tangled up in Deep Blue

Bill Boyle
Published on:

Deep Blue Cable is the developer of a state-of-the art subsea fibre-optic system which will provide connectivity across the Caribbean islands, Colombia, Panama and onward to the United States. We talk to Stephen Scott, CEO of Deep Blue Cable

Spanning approximately 14,000km, Deep Blue Cable’s new project will land in 19 markets throughout the Caribbean region, with primary landing points in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Colombia. 

With a maximum initial capacity of 96Tbps, the network will offer a capacity of 6Tbps per fibre pair. “By ensuring competitive pricing and resilience through alternative supply, Deep Blue Cable will release Caribbean island-based companies that are locked into decades-old agreements with consortium model cable systems that favour the operator,” said Stephen Scott, chief executive officer of Deep Blue. 

Deep Blue will sell capacity to international and regional telecommunications operators, regional network providers, large enterprise customers and OTT players. 

Scott told GTB: “Deep Blue has completed an extensive tender process and selected TE Subcom as its preferred construction partner. We are incorporating Ciena technology across the network. There is growing demand for data, many of the competing cables are nearing the end of their effective life and the developing Caribbean countries are crying out for future-proofed advanced telecom services.”

Scott says: “Social media, smart phones, HD cable TV and fibre to the home are driving enormous demand. Off-island capacity requirements are growing at 45% annually and 10-year growth is expected to be a minimum of 50 times existing capacity demand.”

Wholesale opportunities

Scott says: “The Deep Blue ‘free market’ model will ensure competitive pricing and resilience through alternative supply. A number of the existing cables in the region will reach the end of their design life over the coming 10 years. There will be opportunities to sell wholesale to a significant number of Caribbean operators, in addition some OTT players are being approached for large capacity purchases. Enterprise sales opportunities exist to some large banks and operators in the oil and gas industry.” 

Network Highlights 

Deep Blue will develop a submarine cable system spanning approximately 14,000km. The network will contain up to eight fibre pairs, with each fibre pair having an initial capacity of 6Tbits. However, as Scott says: “We have the ability to upgrade these specifications to almost double this capacity if it is eventually required.”

The network will have US landing points in Naples and Boca Ratan. The primary Caribbean landing points will be in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Panama and Colombia with secondary points in 13 other markets. 

Scott says: “Some of the biggest users of capacity live in Columbia, followed closely by Puerto Rico. Cuba is bringing up the rear with the lowest volumes at the moment, but that can change with time.”

High Speed Trunk Routes

The new cable takes a unique high speed trunk routes via Panama and Colombia direct to Naples and Colombia through Boca Raton. A fibre route along I-75 (Alligator Alley) provides an opportunity to create further system resilience in Florida. State-of-the-art infrastructure and electronics are being utilised but common equipment is used throughout the network. Scott mentions that the project is planned to finish at the end of 2019. That gives him just enough time to plan Deep Blue’s next deep dive. []