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American telecoms development firm adds Kingston to its Caribbean submarine cable build out

The Caribbean Express, a new multi-billion-dollar submarine cable system being rolled out by American telecoms development firm, Ocean Networks Incorporated, is coming to Jamaica.

The Caribbean Express project, an 18-fibre pair subsea cable system linking the state of Florida to Panama, which is just being built out, is also being extended to Kingston. In addition to Jamaica, Caribbean Express will also be rolled out in several other Caribbean and Latin American countries, thus bringing greater connectivity between Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based Ocean Networks cable system has announced that Jamaica will be among its regional stops, rolling out its expensive and hi-tech Caribbean Express submarine cable system. However, this will not be done immediately but incrementally.

In the initial phase, which is currently in progress, the Caribbean Express network will not only run between Palm Beach, Florida and Balboa, Panama, but with additional landing points in Cancún, Mexico and Cartagena, Colombia.

Ocean Networks disclosed plans to build more than a dozen landing points along the route in the coming years in cities such Kingston (Jamaica), Havana (Cuba), George Town (Grand Cayman), Puerto Barrios (Guatemala), Puerto Lempira (Honduras), Bluefields (Nicaragua), and Limón (Costa Rica).

The company claims that once launched, the Caribbean Express will be the only system that can offer dedicated dark fiber pair indefeasible right of use (IRU) in the Caribbean market. An IRU permits customer to have exclusive use of fibres throughout the term of a contract.

Ocean Networks owns more than 8,000 km of submarine cable systems around the world, mostly in the Western Hemisphere.

Multiplexing technology is being used to connect West Palm Beach in Florida, Balboa in Panama, Cancun in Mexico and Cartagena in Colombia with high speed, low latency fibre-optic connectivity. The system will be designed for future connectivity options to other countries along the route.

Valued at approximately US$300 million, Ocean Networks has to date already invested significant capital in progressing the route development of the system. The cable system will have connections to the network access point (NAP) and is backed up by a massive data centre operated by Equinix out of Miami.

The data centre is considered the primary network exchange point between the United States and Latin America. The project is being financed by investment banking company Commenda Capital, whose founder John Runningen has given the thumbs up to the project.

In a recent press release, Runningen remarked that “ONI (Ocean Networks Incorporated) has already received significant subscriber interest from large IT and telecom customers, who are anxious to expand their presence in these new and under-served consumer markets.”

He added that the consumer demand for a new submarine cable system between Central America and the US is enormous with traffic nearly doubling every two years.

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