PTC Sails On Without Us

If you're reading this story, it means I may still be alive. On the fourth of January, I embarked from Chicago via ice bridge across Lake Michigan, taking a circuitous path (I won't bore you with the details -- a few more Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, etc.) to the Arctic Circle and around North America, where I rented a dinghy (that's right -- I said "dinghy") to take me to the PTC 2015 submarine cable conference in Hawaii this week. But, in a hugely ironic bit of misfortune, the dinghy's captain, Maurice, had not pulled in and secured his anchor according to international seamen guidelines, we snagged on a submarine cable, and now, well, we're just sitting here.

So, long story short -- I know, I know -- I didn't make it to PTC 2015, but because there is now truly Internet everywhere, even out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (I just saw a dolphin with a WiFi antenna fused to its snout -- it looked mad), I was able to gather enough information to write this roundup. Please read it thoroughly, and then, for God's sake, send help. Maurice is looking at me like I'm roasting on a spit with an apple stuffed in my mouth.

End of transmission

PTC 2015 in Hawaii this week commenced just as several major submarine cable projects have been looking to raise funding, while others have been continuing with 100G bandwidth upgrade projects. It's no surprise that news coming out of the show features a little of both:

  • Tata Communications Ltd. announced an investment to buy capacity on the Seabras-1 cable that Seaborn Networks LLC is building between the US and Brazil. The announcement comes more than two and a half years after Tata initially agreed to become an anchor tenant on the cable, though just one week after Seaborn announced $500 million in financing, led by the Partners Group investment fund. Microsoft also reportedly will use the cable, which is due to be finished in the fourth quarter of 2016. (See Tata Taps Into Seabras-1 Cable and Tata Comms Takes Seaborn Capacity.)

  • Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), a formidable subsea cable operator in its own right that is now looking to acquire fellow subsea operator PacNet, has turned up 100G service on all of its submarine cables. While 100G upgrades made news on many terrestrial networks in the last few years, the submarine cable sector is not far behind. Don't be surprised if 100G connectivity soon becomes table stakes worldwide in this market. (See Telstra Turns On 100G Subsea Routes and Telstra Snaps Up Pacnet for $697M.)

    You can read a lot more about the submarine cable market in our dedicated subsea content channel here on Light Reading.

  • Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) announced it has been selected to upgrade two separate submarine cables -- the Trans Pacific Express (TPE) cable and the Japan-US Cable Network. In both cases, the upgrades will feature Ciena's GeoMesh architecture and Wavelogic software to enable submarine cables with SDN features for managing capacity. The Japan-US Cable Network win comes after a much publicized trial last year. News of the deals comes only days after Southern Cross Cable Network announced that it is upgrading its network with Ciena's WaveLogic modulation capability and Flexible Grid technologies. (See Ciena to Upgrade Japan-US Cable Network and Ciena Pushing 200G for Subsea.)

  • These projects come as Ciena and other vendor not traditionally linked with the submarine cable sector, such as Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), are seeing more opportunities in the market as cable owners look to upgrade capacity and improve control and management flexibility. Speaking of Infinera, the vendor this week announced its DTN-X would be used by Middle East and North Africa Submarine Cable Systems on its terrestrial network in Egypt. (See MENA Deploys Infinera's DTN-X in Egypt , Ciena Wins AAG Subsea Deal and Subsea Surge: Infinera Jumps Into the Water.)

    — Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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