Capacity is no longer a product, its a means of product delivery, says TE SubCom

20 February 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


Capacity speaks to TE SubCom about some of the biggest issues facing the submarine cable industry, how the industry is combating this and its thoughts on OTTs and cable landing stations.

1. TE SubCom recently launched its global network operations centre (NOC), talk to me about the launch of the centre and its significance (if any) in the growth of TE SubCom’s services?

SubCom is very excited to be adding NOC services to our existing portfolio of operation and maintenance offerings. As our customer base evolves, we see some of our customers looking for a more complete & comprehensive solution provider for their O&M requirements. They would prefer to outsource these services so they can concentrate on their core business and let SubCom’ s experience and expertise provide them with everything they need to operate, maintain and protect their undersea assets

2. What is the biggest issue facing the subsea cable industry and what is TE SubCom doing to combat this?

We have seen some major market players backing away from involvement in new systems. This is causing a gap in the role landing parties used to play with respect to providing outside plant, cable landing stations, regulatory approvals, network operations and maintenance. 

SubCom has been providing these services ad hoc to various customers for decades. The SubCom Global Services (SGS) initiative has been formed to address the gap and to provide a turnkey solution to our customer’s.

Our customers are faced with myriad choices with respect to subsea cable projects. The choice of terminating equipment alone – meshing with an existing core terrestrial network or keeping up with shorter and shorter technology improvement cycles – is daunting. We offer the “Open Cables” model, which gives customers the flexibility to select their preferred line terminating equipment for their specific network. This enables them to have a cost effective, comprehensive yet customized solution that allows for a multi-vendor supplier base for transponders.

Monet-OverviewSchematic-TE-SubCom 680 width

3. How do you think the investment of OTT’s has effected the subsea cable market?

The increased involvement of Over-the-Top (OTT) providers is significantly changing the market. It has transformed the way we think about capacity from being a “product” to being the means of delivery for a product (content applications). It has also changed the usage of subsea cable from a resale model to one of internal consumption. All this has had the effect of breaking down significant regulatory barriers and breaking up some monopolistic business paradigms.

4. What are your thoughts on the increasing number of cable projects forgoing the cable landing station and connecting directly into the data centre?

We think the “direct to data center” approach makes technical and economic sense. As a matter of fact, SubCom was a pioneer in this network topology, having installed our first direct connections back in the early 2000’s into what was then called a PoP (point of presence). These direct connections avoid expensive regeneration at the cable station and our system design experience enables us to model and combine the different optical paths of an undersea segment with a terrestrial segment.

5. As we’re now in 2018, what’s the roadmap for the next 12 months?

SubCom continues to develop new products and services to match the ever-changing needs of our customers.

A number of announcements have been made by TE SubCom over the last few months. Most recently TE SubCom was selected as supplier for the HAVFRUE subsea cablethe Monet subsea cable is now ready for service and TE SubCom’s Responder cable-laying ship arrived in November at the Sydney harbour in Australia to start work on the 15,000km Hawaiki subsea cable.

Jupiter cable