Big Interview

Monet Cable: Built to last

Angelo Gama CEO of Angola Cables.jpg

Cast your mind back to 2018, at the height of subsea cable projects when the likes of Seabras-1 and AAE-1 went into service while the likes of BRUSA and Hawaiki were nearing completion. For those around during this golden age of subsea development, you'll already be familiar with the Monet Cable.

Fast forward to May 2022, when news broke of Angola Cables and Flexential's plans to extend the reach of the Monet cable to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The 10,556km cable, a joint project between Algar Telecom, Angola Cables, Antel Uruguay and Google, originally connected Boca Raton, Florida to both Fortaleza and Santos, Brazil with an initial design capacity of 64Tbps.

Now, the cable will reach an additional point of access in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and also have direct access to the AngoNAP tier III data centre in Fortaleza, Brazil and the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) landing station.

Speaking to Angelo Gama, CEO of Angola Cables about the expansion project, including why after 4 years the decision to extend the system came about.

"Subsea cables are key to international connectivity," says Gama.

"On the initial setup, the Google cable only linked São Paulo in Brazil to Boca Raton, however recent upgrades made by Angola Cables to the Monet Cable system, because of the Flexential partnership will extend this subsea cable to an additional point of access in the US."

Described as a "critically important fibre-optic cable link between the USA and Latin America," Gama explains that the increasing amount of data traffic and the "vital role that the Monet cable plays in promoting social, economic and commercial development across Latin America" were the main reasons to upgrade the cable.

At the same time, he says that the increasing capacity demands of hyperscalers, like Google, also require the upgrade "to cope with the growing request for digital content – not just across the US, Latin America, but Africa too".

The Monet cable also connects to Angola Cable's South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which links Sangano, Angola to Fortaleza, Brazil, creating a direct connection to the African continent.

Partnering with Flexential Gama says that the two have the basis to develop a "symbiotic relationship through the sharing of infrastructure and tailored technology solutions".

This includes Flexential data centre's network across the US and Angola Cables' integrated ICT solutions and subsea cable systems made up by the Monet, SACS and WACS subsea cables along with partnership with the likes of EllaLink.

Flexential Map.jpg

"From a customer and IT solutions, perspective, both companies have customers looking for stable, secure solutions in the US and Latin America and conversely the customers in Africa seeking to expand their digital network and cloud services to markets and customers in the US and Europe," he says.

2021 saw Angola Cables undertake a technical upgrade of the system, were it added more than 2Tbps of capacity to network to "enhance the performance of bandwidth-intensive cloud-based services".

"The upgrades were completed using Ciena’s GeoMesh solution to provide more capacity and lower latency to satisfy surging digital demands," says Gama.

But they company is not stopping there, and a new project is underway to further upgrade Monet and deliver "state-of-the-art technology in terms of client’s interfaces".

"Motivated by customers behaviour, who have indicated that in a short term, 400Gbps Ethernet Interfaces will be a gamechanger on subsea transmission and therefor a huge demand can be expected," explains Gama.

Given the current configuration of the Monet Cable, which sees its to the SACS cable which in turn connects to the West African Cable System (WACS) that links to more than 15 African countries on the West Coast of Africa.

Gama says that "options exist to connect the Monet Cable to other systems such as the EllaLink and any other cables that may connect to Miami, Fortaleza and Santos in Brazil."

"We have also empowered our Global Data Interconnection (GDI) solution with presences in Los Angeles and Singapore giving enterprises the option to connect their networks from USA through Africa all the way to Asia across a low latency network," he adds.

Further to this on the South side, Monet is partially integrated with Junior and Tannat cables systems.

"As you know, these assets belong to Google, our partner in the Monet consortium. These cables are able to deliver capacity in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina," says Gama.

To the North in Florida, Angola Cables has a partnership with Telia and with Windstream to extend Monet routes inland.

"In the future, we should not discard the possible integration with other subsea cables such as Confluence-1, however no firm routings or timelines have been set but we will continue to look for viable opportunities," he says.

With the extension project firmly underway with no set fixed timeline, and further modernisation developments also in the works, it seems that the Monet Cable system will outlast us all.