Orange chief inaugurates Kanawa subsea cable system

17 January 2019 | James Pearce

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Orange has officially launched its Kanawa subsea cable system, linking French Guiana with Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

The 1,746km fibre cable system is comprised of two pairs of fibre offering transfer rates of around 5Tbps. It utilises wavelength division multiplexing technology and can send up to  100*100Gbit/s or 10 terabits/s, making it one of the most powerful cable systems in the region, according to Orange.

Orange Marine began installation of the cable system in July on the M/V Pierre de Fermat installation vessel. Overall, from design to inauguration took under two years, Orange said.

Kanawa, which is named in reference to the traditional Amerindian boats that provided exchange between islands in the region, is due to be completed by the end of the month.

The new system will provide Interconnections with the Americas II subsea cable in Martinique (Le Lamentin) and in French Guyana. The total system spans 8200 km and connects Florida, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Curaçao, Trinidad, Venezuela, French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana, and Brazil. Plus interconnection on East Caribbean Fibre System (ECFS) in Guadeloupe and Martinique. This 1,440 km cable interconnects 14 eastern Caribbean islands and offers 7Tbs per fibre pair on a 350-km unrepeatered link.

Orange Group chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard joined Kourou mayor François Ringuet and Orange French Guiana Antilles director Thierry Kergall in Kourou, French Guiana, for the official inauguration of the new cable system.

Orange built Kanawa in response to growing demand for digital services  in the region, with the cable set to act as a “new internet highway” as well as a driver of growth in French Guiana.

Richard said: ““With its demographic growth and the growth in uses, French Guiana is one of the most dynamic territories for digital technology. We built Kanawa to meet this need for speed and to secure this region’s connection to the global network. This submarine cable, which we are inaugurating today, will connect French Guiana and Martinique and represents an investment of €35 million for Orange.”

It is just the latest announcement for Orange’s subsea business. At the end of 2018, Orange announced it is partnering PCCW Global and Hengtong on the PEACE Cable, which is due to launch in Q1 2020. PEACE, or Pakistan & East Africa Connection Europe, is a 12,000km cable system linking Pakistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya and France, offering 16Tbps per fibre pair to boot critical interconnections in Asia, Europe and Africa.