Undersea cable to create direct Brazil-Miami link
By Scott Blake
A Boston company plans to lay an underwater cable stretching more than 6,000 miles from South Florida to Brazil that will create up to 50 jobs at the end of the line in Miami.
Seaborn Networks LLC will install and operate the cable, which will run from São Paulo, Brazil's largest city, to Boca Raton and then down to Miami, the company announced.
The fiber optic cable will be set up to handle the growing Internet, data and voice traffic to and from Brazil, said Seaborn spokesman Dan Taylor.
Dubbed Seabras-1, the cable will be the first submarine cable system to provide a direct route between the US and Brazil, according to Seaborn.
"Because this is the primary route for the majority of Internet, data and voice traffic between South America and the rest of the world, Sebras-1 transforms the speed and quality of communications throughout the region," the company said in a statement.
The cable will stretch underground from São Paulo to the South American coast, where it will submerge into the Atlantic Ocean and travel north along the ocean floor. It will come ashore in Boca Raton — a landing spot for such cables — and then travel underground south to Miami, Mr. Taylor said.
The company plans to open a landing station in Boca Raton and an operations center in the Miami area. A specific location hasn't yet been chosen. The operations center will be staffed by 30 to 50 network engineers and support staff, Mr. Taylor said.
Seaborn plans to activate the cable in 2014. The company says it will offer capacity on the line to communications companies and others.
The company chose South Florida as the landing site for the cable simply because it is the closest part of the US to South America. The cable will be used to handle communications between South America, North America and beyond, Mr. Taylor said.
He said there is increasing demand in Brazil, with its economic growth and emerging middle-class in recent years, for wireless communications and the infrastructure to support it.
The cable itself will be 3 to 6 inches thick, in addition to protective covering, which will be heavier near shorelines. A repeater — a device about the size of a refrigerator — will be placed every 60 to 70 miles along the cable to ensure the fiber optic signals are transmitted smoothly, Mr. Taylor said.
Citing a report from business research firm Frost & Sullivan, Seaborn said investments in the Brazilian telecommunications market haven't been this high since the 1998 privatization of the telecom industry, with billions of dollars in new investments expected through 2016.
The company said the Brazilian government has helped drive that growth with its adoption of a national broadband plan as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
According to Seaborn, existing submarine cables between the US and Brazil don't provide adequate capacity beyond 2016, even when taking into account potential capacity upgrades.
And some of those systems, the company said, will have less than half of their engineering design life remaining when Sebras-1 is deployed.
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