Aging Americas cables still have life, hears Subsea conference
05 December 2017 | Natalie Bannerman
Despite a number of new cable projects in the Americas being developed, there is still an opportunity to get more out of older cables, according to a panel at Capacity's latest subsea conference.
Moderated by Elaine Stafford, managing partner of DRG Under Sea Consulting the line-up consisted of: Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks, Stephen Scott, CEO of Deep Blue Cable, Erick Contag, executive chairman at Globenet, Larry Schwartz, CEO of Seaborn Networks and Federico Porri, CTO of Sparkle Americas.
The opening panel at Capacity’s first inaugural Subsea Connect America’s conference, that the discussion around seizing opportunities in the Latin America region took place.
The discussion started in the topic of aging subsea cables to which Paul Scott answered: “Today carriers are investing in new significant capacity in consortium cables. These projects are getting capital for onwards upgrades. Would smart carriers be ploughing capital into those legacy systems if they didn’t feel that they had life? I just don’t see those systems going out of service anytime soon.”
Adding to his point, Sparkle's Porri said: “In general I don’t think we’re going to see that many new cables being built in the region. What we see is that the new cables that are currently in development will have drops in the Caribbean. The new cables will bring capacity in specific places but the existing regional cables maybe used is a different way than we use them today to reach those new hubs.”
Though as Contag said: “The days of building opportunistically as they did in the early 2000’s have gone. So all these new cables to an extent fit a specific purpose.”
Throughout the panel the attention undoubtedly turned to the recent slew of hurricanes which devastated the region, although Schwartz claimed that a lot has been learned through those experiences, saying: “I think what we see is a greater awareness over the last few years, especially after the recent hurricane season, what some of the limitations are on some of the prior geographical diversity points.”
Stephen Scott was keen to elaborate on the offerings of the newest player to market, Deep Blue Cable, explaining the motivation behind its conception: “C&W serves that region very well with multiple cables systems, however you can’t avoid the fact that there isn’t an alternative. Businesses in the region need an alternative.”
Feeding into the playful rivalry between the two, Paul Scott hit back, saying: “There’s no doubt Stephen can build a world class network with TESubcom, he’s got the expertise. But over the course of time, day-to-day the challenge will be market dynamics, and how do you bring really strong value proposition to go to market and maintain these increasingly complex networks.”
With the final word, Contag says that looking to future the subsea cable industry needs to “make it more attractive to new talent.We’re getting older, so we need to make it more appealing for the younger generation who’ll carry this on when we retire.”
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