Crosslake set to announce third North American project ‘next month’

30 January 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The backers of Canadian company Crosslake Fibre are planning to announce two new non-repeatered subsea cable projects, one in North America and one to follow the Ireland-France project.

Mike Cunningham 200 x 200Crosslake already has two North American projects underway, and the company is going to announce another in the area “next month”, said company founder Mike Cunningham.

Speaking to Capacity just before the opening of the Metro Connect conference in Miami Beach, Florida, Cunningham said Tiger Infrastructure, which is backing Crosslake and another Cunningham project, the Ireland-France Subsea Cable (IFSC), will fund the third North American project as well as a follow-on to the Ireland-France project.

Meanwhile IFSC has been redesigned so that the bulk of the 96 fibre-pairs will run via the UK, he told Capacity. The project was originally designed to run from Dublin and Cork in Ireland direct to Lannion in north-western France. Now only six fibre-pairs will bypass the UK, while 90 will land in Cornwall, in south-west England and then continue back out to France.

“We now seeing diversity requirements,” said Cunningham, explaining the change of design. Fibre-pairs on the whole IFSC will be offered on a dark-fibre basis. “The model of fibre with no repeaters is typically one that we’re going to be able to replicate,” he said, but would not give any details of the project that will follow IFSC.

Crosslake’s first project, across Lake Ontario from Canada to the US, will be under way this year, he said. The company expects to announce its suppliers “in the next couple of weeks”.

The second Crosslake project will be to link New Jersey and Long Island along the shore of the Atlantic, bypassing Manhattan. That and the still-to-be-announced third Crosslake project will be installed in 2019, he said, as will IFSC. He was coy about giving any hints about the third Crosslake project – even whether it was in salt or fresh water – or the follow-on to IFSC.

Funding is in place, he added, from Tiger Infrastructure. “We’re looking for places to deploy capital,” he said. Nothing will be announced about the new projects until the feasibility studies are complete “and we’ve made sure the business case is working”. 

As for one of its other much-talked about subsea cable projects linking New Jersey and Long Island, Cunningham told Capacity last year that the intention behind it "is to provide a more direct route between the two points to transatlantic cables coming from South America, creating an Eastern bypass route of Manhattan".

How does Crosslake find and identify these niche builds? "We’re playing in a typically terrestrial market but we’re subsea developers - pairing the two together to find these smaller opportunities where they exist", explains Cunningham. "The only reason why most carriers don’t is because a lot won’t build in the water."

A topic that has garnered much attention is the debate over subsea projects forgoing cable landing stations and connecting directly into data centres. When questioned on how important locality to data centres is to Crosslake Fibre, Cunningham replies: What really determines the end points for us is ensuring that there’s fibre connectivity and multiple different potential suppliers from our end points. If we just got to a cable landing station, that doesn’t necessarily enable us to go and provide a solution for our customer. Sometimes there are limited options from that cable landing station onwards."