Intelligent CIO North America Issue 8 - Page 64


Ocean Networks launches submarine cable system project connecting US to Panama

Ocean Networks has launched its Caribbean Express Project to provide a new submarine cable digital superhighway across the Caribbean .

Ocean Networks has launched its Caribbean Express ( CX ) Project , an 18-fiber pair submarine cable system linking Florida to Panama .

The CX system will utilize Space Division Multiplexing ( SDM ) technology to connect West Palm Beach ( Florida ), Balboa ( Panama ), Cancun ( Mexico ) and Cartagena ( Colombia ) with high speed , low latency fiber-optic connectivity .
In addition , the system will be designed for future connectivity to other countries along the route . Significant capital has already been invested in advancing the route development including market analysis , permit and environmental studies and securing landing party agreements . to expand their presence in these new and under-served consumer markets .”
ONI management has confirmed that several large corporate customers have already indicated an interest in either a dedicated fiber pair or managed bandwidth as soon as this high speed SDM system is completed in early 2024 .
A new submarine cable system like ONI ’ s Caribbean Express , is critical to the economies of the Central and South American countries and it has strategic significance to all the companies that want to do business in these countries .
As a result , there may be several governmental partners in this project as well . Because of this , ONI has positioned ‘ Branching Units ’ in strategic locations along the route to easily enable future connectivity .
The CX system provides quick and easy access to new markets with diverse routing options , high-speed connectivity and very low latency . Upon completion CX will be the only system that can offer new dedicated dark fiber pair IRUs in the Caribbean market .
In conjunction with the remaining capital commitments , supplier RFQs will be issued next month to selected system suppliers , with the awarded Contracts in Force ( CIF ) by July 2021 . The estimated Ready for Service ( RFS ) date will be in early 2024 .
Ocean Networks brings an experienced and accomplished team of professionals who on average , have each been working in the submarine cable system industry for 25 years .
The ONI team combined has over 150 years of experience and has worked on over 100 cable systems worldwide .
" We are excited about launching this new submarine cable digital superhighway across the Caribbean ,” said Robert Hildebrecht , Ocean Networks ’ CFO . p
To complete the funding of this US $ 300 million project , ONI has engaged Commenda , an Atlanta-based merchant bank . For the past 10 years , Commenda has worked with family offices and corporate , strategic and governmental funds as well as US and foreign banks to privately fund projects like the Caribbean Express network .
“ The consumer demand for a new submarine cable system between Central America and the US is enormous . Traffic is nearly doubling every two years ,” said John R . Runningen , a Founder and Principal of Commenda .
“ As a result , ONI has already received significant subscriber interest from large IT and telecom customers who are anxious
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