Undersea Cable From Brazil Skips Miami
Written by Scott Blake on April 11, 2013
By Scott Blake
Think of it as a 6,650-mile extension cord from Brazil to the US.
That’s the Seabras-1 undersea fiber optic cable — a project that was supposed to make Miami and Boca Raton its US landing spot. However, the plan has changed and the landing spot is now the New York City area, the cable’s developer and eventual operator said this week.
"It was just something that our customers wanted," explained Andy Bax, chief technology officer for Seaborn Networks.
South Florida already is a common landing spot for such telecom cables. However, Seaborn’s customers will find it more convenient to buy additional connectivity from New York than from Miami, as the Big Apple has better telecom links to Europe and Asia, although Miami is still strong for connectivity to Latin America, Mr. Bax said.
So gone is Seaborn’s plan to open a landing station in Boca Raton and an operations center in the Miami area that would have been staffed by 30 to 50 network engineers and support staff.
Otherwise, Mr. Bax said, there isn’t much difference for the company in moving the US connection to New York, as the cable will stretch from Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, and make a stop in Fortaleza on Brazil’s eastern tip on the way to the US. In going to Miami, the cable would have had to head west from a certain point in the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, Seabras-1 will head north from that point to New York.
"It’s only a difference of about 100 kilometers," Mr. Bax said.
The plan is to activate the cable in early 2015 to handle the growing flow of Internet, data and voice traffic between South America and the rest of the world. It will be the first-ever direct telecom cable between Sao Paulo and the US.
The project is led by Seaborn, a firm headquartered in Beverly, MA, that specializes in building and operating submarine cable systems. Seaborn has contracted Alcatel-Lucent, a Paris-based networking and communications technology company, to build Seabras-1.
Currently, the project is in the permit acquisition stage and Alcatel-Lucent has mobilized vessels to do marine route surveys for the cable.
"We are pleased to announce this important milestone as part of the overall implementation of Seabras-1," Seaborn Networks CEO Larry Schwartz said in a recent statement.
"Together with the permit acquisition work currently underway and the completion of the cable route study, the marine surveys represent excellent progress as we maintain the schedule for Seabras-1 to enter service in the first of quarter of 2015."
In the decision to relocate the system to New York, the company cited "lower latency" there between the financial centers of Brazil and the US; the shorter distance to the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington, DC; lower costs for customers in key hubs with data connections throughout North America; and New York being "the international gateway" to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia — via high-speed connections to the US West Coast.
The 100 Gigabit-per second system will provide new data capacity on the primary route for the majority of Internet, data and voice traffic between South American, the US and beyond. Also, the system will support a variety of consumer and business broadband services between the US and Brazil.
Recently released data by the Brazilian Electrical and Electronics Industry Association underscores Brazil’s continuing telecom transformation. From January through September of 2012, telecom operators invested $8.2 billion in US dollars in Brazil’s telecom infrastructure. That equals the investment total for all of 2011 — a number also projected to grow by 7% this year over 2012.
"Seabras-1 will be the first direct route between New York and Sao Paulo and also the longest 100 Gigabit transoceanic link to date," Philippe Dumont, president of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, said in a statement.
"Once deployed, it will contribute with other ongoing initiatives to enhance transcontinental connectivity for the benefit of the global consumer and business community."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.