Amitié cable lands on Gironde coast, France

27 September 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Orange has landed its transatlantic 6,600km AmitiƩ subsea cable on a beach in the commune of Le Porge, near Bordeaux on the Gironde coast.

It means the state of Massachusetts in the US is now connected with Le Porge in France, and Bude in Cornwall, UK. Commissioning is scheduled for early 2022 and Orange will benefit from two pairs of fibre optic cables as part of this new system, offering capacity up to 23 Tbp/s each.

Orange said the "arrival of this new mega cable near Bordeaux represents an excellent opportunity for the region, which will become an international digital hub, allowing new data centres to be created to support the growth of the local digital ecosystem".

Jean-Luc Vuillemin, head of international networks and services at Orange said: “With this new agreement, we are yet again demonstrating our skills and expertise in transatlantic submarine cables. Against the backdrop of a boom in international traffic, the arrival of these increasingly efficient cutting-edge submarine cables, and in view of the strategic and national sovereignty issues linked to submarine cables, Orange must continue to play a leading role in the global market and develop infrastructure to connect France to other continents.”

It was third time lucky for the landing after two earlier attempts failed due to bad weather.

Meanwhile, in Brighton on the south coast of England, Crosslake's plans to start laying another new subsea cable were also delayed due to bad weather.

Winds gusting to 32 knots meant the sea was unsuitable for the small boat that was due to bring Crosslake Fiber's UK-to-France cable ashore. That operation is now due for Tuesday morning, 28 September.

After that, the cable ship IT Intrepid will begin laying the 96-fibre pair cable to Veules-les-Roses on the French coast. Capacity's Alan Burkitt-Gray will have more on that story later in the week.

For Amitié, conditions in France meant the cable could land using horizontal directional drilling, a technical process that Orange said protects the environment.

Horizontal directional drilling was conducted at 20 metres under the beach and dunes and the route to the landing station was optimised to avoid impacting local forest.

Orange further said the project’s design "carefully considered the fragile nature of the sites involved (beaches, dunes, forests), and used the latest technologies to avoid impacting the ecosystem and local flora and fauna".

Fabienne Buccio, prefect of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and prefect of Gironde, commented: "This is a great example of public-private cooperation to create value and technological innovation that demonstrates our nation's industrial capabilities. This project is part of a national policy to enhance the appeal of electronic communications cables. Despite the pandemic, the project was completed on time and it paves the way for further cables along our coast."