Exclusive: GlobalConnect's Digital E4 enters the Baltic Sea

GlobalConnect søkabel Bornholm 2022.jpg

GlobalConnect's new subsea cable system 'Digital E4', has begun installation between Sweden and the Danish Island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

Announced back in 2021, the tentatively called 'Digital E4' cable, ” named after the E4 highway between Luleå in northern Sweden and Helsingborg in the south of Sweden forms part of “the largest digital infrastructure project we’ve seen in the Nordics in recent years", according to Regina Donato Dahlström, CEO of GlobalConnect Carrier.

Speaking exclusively to Capacity on the details of the project, Patrik Gylesjö, head of business management at GlobalConnect Sverige, and technical expert for GlobalConnect Carrier and leading the digital highway project, shared the technical configuration of the system.

"The cable is built as a passive system with amplification in Integrated Line Amplifier (ILA) sites roughly every 100 kilometres. Our customers can deploy active equipment of their choice but GlobalConnect will deploy a DWDM system for our internal needs."

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According to Gylesjö, the cable itself will be double armored, featuring a 192-fibre compact design, built for a depth to up to 3000 metres and a tension of up to 15 tons, it will be made in Sweden by Hexatronic while Swedish company, Baltic Offshore will act as the the cable laying company carrying out the work for the project at Bornholm.

The drivers behind the decision to build the 'Digital E4' system are largely for route diversity and demand from data centre providers.

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"We have large customers who operate multiple data centres in the Nordic region, and they are requesting four diverse routes into the Nordics," explains Gylesjö.

"Building this cable adds a route into Sweden that are independent of our current routes through Denmark. Bornholm will be well connected by three independent cables, in addition to existing infrastructure, future proofing the islands infrastructure in anticipation of the coming Energy Island projects."

GlobalConnect søkabel Bornholm2 2022.jpg

Part of this development project will see the 'Digital E4' which will run from Sassnitz in Gemany to Bornhom, Swedish mainland in Simrishamn, and Island Öland and Gotland and then Stockholm "where we join [an] existing land cable system".

"From Simrishamn the cable will continue towards Copenhagen, connecting into the existing GlobalConnect infrastructure with both DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing) and MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) technology," he adds.

GlobalConnect søkabel kobles til landkabel på Bornholm2 2022.jpg

Additionally, the 'Digital E4' will land at a cable landing station, "then many additional miles before reaching any data centre," says Gylesjö.

The project is due to become ready for service 1st November 2022, Capacity will follow this news.