EllaLink & EMACOM launch SMART subsea cable initiative

EllaLink & EMACOM launch SMART subsea cable initiative

30 June 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

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EllaLink is launching the EllaLink GeoLab initiative, a project which aims to provide the scientific community with real-time, accurate and relevant data on seabed conditions.

This initiative will be the first dedicated facility of its kind as part of a telecoms subsea cable, delivering data on seismology, volcanology, marine ecology, and oceanic conditions to help better understand the future of our planet.

“In a time of continued environmental change, critical information about the planet can be ascertained from the seabed,” said Philippe Dumont, CEO of EllaLink.

“Submarine telecoms cables are best placed to monitor seabed conditions at all time and make such data available to scientists on-land. We are proud to lead the way into a new era of submarine cable systems supporting such scientific progress.”

The EllaLink GeoLab infrastructure will be provided by EllaLink in partnership with Madeira – Portugal, fibre-optic services provider, EMACOM.

Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology will be used on the cable, over a dedicated fibre in the Madeira Branch of the EllaLink System.

“Addition of DAS technology into the EllaLink branch to Madeira neutral operator EMACOM, is a move designed to pave the way for a greater understanding of the waters that surround our archipelago,” added Pedro Bettencourt Calado, vice president of the autonomous region of Madeira.

“The importance of educational progress relating to earthquakes and oceanographic conditions cannot be underestimated. We look forwarding to hosting the GeoLab facility in Funchal.”

The DAS technology will collect data along the route, which will be optically transmitted back to the shore. It will all occur independently and without impacting either telecoms traffic or the design life of the cable, making EllaLink the first system to integrate SMART cable concepts.

“ANACOM considered the addition of seismic and environmental detection features in the future submarine cables Ring connecting the Mainland, Azores and Madeira greatly beneficial for Portugal, and it had the opportunity to propose such development to the industry,” said João Cadete de Matos, chairman of Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM).

“Therefore, ANACOM welcomes this important innovation and recommends its adoption by other future submarine cable systems developed on the Portuguese Continental Platform.”

In addition, the Research and Education community in Europe will be given access to the data generated by the EllaLink GeoLab initiative.

For this, EllaLink is collaborating with GÉANT and the Portuguese NREN, FCT, both members of the BELLA Consortium, who will use EllaLink cable to support Research and Education collaborations between Europe and Latin America.

“GÉANT provides users with highly reliable, unconstrained access to computing, analysis, storage, applications and other resources, to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of research,” said Erik Huizer, CEO of GÉANT.

“EllaLink will provide direct connectivity between the research and education communities of Europe and Latin America, thanks to the work of the BELLA Consortium of which GÉANT is a member.”

“GÉANT therefore welcomes the development of a dark fibre research infrastructure that can support DAS and other technologies, without disturbing telecommunications traffic, as a further engagement from EllaLink for the R&E community.”

“Science has shown time and again its fundamental role in the creation of knowledge beacons pointing the way to sound and sustained human and technological development,” added Nuno Rodrigues, FCT Board Member.

“Today, this mission depends ever more on sophisticated scientific infrastructures to understand the complex processes that govern our world, upon which the discovery of new and relevant knowledge lies.”

“GeoLab is far more than just a sophisticated scientific infrastructure, it is a scientific challenge in many fields of knowledge that FCT is committed to support and engage with the national and international scientific community to pursue such goal.”

The news aligns itself with the work of Joint Task Force (JTF) and its it work in SMART cables. Preston Thomas, regulatory and strategy consultant SMART Cables, JTF spoke to Capacity about the benefits of these cables and how the subsea cable industry can work to make it happen.