ATN files application with FCC for new subsea cable

10 January 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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ATN Undersea Cable Corporation (ATN Cable) has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build a new submarine cable system in the US Virgin Islands.

The proposed system called VILINK, will connect the islands of St Thomas and St Croix, landing in the towns of Nazareth on the east side of S. Thomas and Christiansted on the northern shore of St Croix.

It will feature a non-repeatered, linear segment composed of 24 fibre strands. In addition, it will have an initial deployment capacity of 10Gbps wavelengths on a single fibre pair, with a maximum design capacity of up to 100Gbps if upgraded in the future.

ATN in its application goes on to say that the VILink System will provide increased “capacity, redundancy, resiliency, and reliability for communications between St Thomas and St Croix,” the two islands in the US Virgins islands with the biggest populations.

The company believes that bandwidth demands in the region will "exponentially increase" as its citizens use more Internet-based data technologies and VILINK will support these demands.

At present connectivity between the two islands is achieved largely by microwave technologies but according to ATN this system is unreliable “due to dish misalignment in high winds”. The new system will also improve reliability and redundancy by re-routing traffic through the US mainland connection of the other island.

ATN Cable, a wholly own subsidiary of ATN International, a communications and renewable energy investor, will be the sole owner and operator of the cable system. In its FCC application, the cable is described as a “non-common carrier fibre-optic submarine telecommunications cable” meaning that ATN Cable will use it  to deliver communications services to customers of The Virgin Islands Telephone Corporation (Viya), another ATN International subsidiary, but it may also sell remaining capacity on a wholesale basis to other carriers.