The Atlantic versus Pacific is complicated, says panel


The age old, Atlantic versus Pacific debate was centre stage during the second panel session during Subsea Americas.

In the session called Atlantic vs. Pacific – how can the industry mirror the east coast subsea cable boom on the pacific west coast, panellists examined the this trend and how to facilitate this growth across the Pacific.

“At what point does it make sense to continue to build cables in the Atlantic?” questioned Erick Contag, executive chairman of Globenet indicating the need for more connectivity in the Pacific.

Moderated by Philip deGuzman, director of submarine networks at Pioneer Consulting other panellists included Wagner Rapchan, CEO at Netell, Jorge Porto, director of SubCom and Rafael Arranz, COO of Telxius.

Arranz seemed a little more cautious about the prospects of the replicating the same success across the Atlantic in the Pacific, saying: “don’t over shoot it” adding that the markets are very different.

Rapchan seemed to echo the sentiment adding “there is a difference between the east coast and the west coast, not only that the population on the west coast is roughly one third than it is on the east coast – it’s where the population is located. On the west coast most of the population is concentrated in the south and on the east coast it’s concentrated in the north affecting its landing points.”

Interestingly when discussing the relationship to OTTs Arranz compared it to a Facebook relationship status saying “it’s complicated.” “These guys have a very specific and clear idea of how they want things to be done – they choose their routes based on what’s needed for them at the time.”

Porto thinks that while there will be an increase of cables in the Pacific, driven largely by the OTTs, “there will be no gold rush” as we have seen in other areas.

“Its important to understand that you don’t disrupt infrastructure in the same way you disrupt software. Infrastructure is long-term,” concluded Contag.

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