Aqua Comms and its FOCUS on 2020 and beyond
Capacity speaks to Andy Hudson, chief network officer at Aqua Comms ahead of the company's three subsea cable project coming into service this year.
As we know, this year Aqua Comms will bring into service three cable systems, America Europe Connect 2 (AEC-2), CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) and North Sea Connect (NSC). How do these three systems contribute to the much anticipated, North Atlantic Loop?
The three new systems complement our existing AEC-1 and CC-1 cables perfectly to offer diverse networks from the US to Ireland, the UK and the Nordics. This supports the huge growth these markets are seeing from massive data centre investments, particularly in Ireland and the Nordics, as well as the continued high traffic growth from the East coast of the US to the core European nodes of London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.
What will the North Atlantic Loop offer its customers, that other systems in the region cannot?
The North Atlantic Loop brings new and diverse latest-technology cables to a region that has been over-reliant on legacy cables such as TAT-14 which is due to be decommissioned in December 2020. The North Atlantic Loop including AEC-2 will replace this with a resilient, ring-based infrastructure between the East Coast of the US, Ireland and Northern Europe that will more than double fibre connectivity to Denmark and increase the diversity and reliability of the region’s connectivity.
We also know that Aqua Comms is hard at work at 10 new subsea cable landing stations this year. Can you tell us about these landing points and why they were chosen?
To ensure route diversity as a critical design requirement, the landing stations we are building for our 3 new cables will be in new locations , these are NJFX in New Jersey, Old Head and Loughshinny in Ireland, Blackpool and Newcastle in the UK, Port Erin and Port Grenaugh on the Isle of Man, Blaabjerg and Houstrup in Denmark and Kristiansand in Norway. The locations themselves have been chosen with network security in mind. For example, the US to Ireland route is designed to use the shortest possible segments of shallow water to minimise the risk of cable damage.
Aqua Comms was named operations partner for the Celtic Norse cable system connecting Norway to Ireland, with branches to Iceland and Scotland. What made Aqua Comms want to partner with Celtic Norse on this project?
Celtic Norse is being built to support the growth in investment for sustainable data centre development in Norway and will connect Norway into Killala in Ireland where AEC-1 lands and where Aqua Comms will act as the landing party. This new cable gives Celtic Norse direct access into the North Atlantic Loop and wider connectivity to the US, Ireland, the UK and beyond. There is therefore an obvious synergy for Aqua Comms to be the operations partner.
With a busy 12 months ahead, can you share a bit the roadmap for 2020?
With Aqua Comms bringing on three new cables this year, and with the maturity of our unique operating model, we have expanded our product offering to provide professional services. These services will range from the model mentioned above, where we will act as the operations partner for Celtic Norse, to providing provisioning and order management services through to sales and marketing support. Our extensive expertise across all these areas can deliver operational and financial efficiencies to our customers and our new Focus portal will give customers visibility of network availability, service performance stats, sales management tools through integration with Salesforce and access to 24x7 support through iNoc.This all supports our FOCUS model – Fibre Optic Cables Under the Sea: it’s all we do.