KINGSTON, Jamaica – Digicel is making a significant investment in international submarine capacity with the build of its Deep Blue One subsea cable and has signed a partnership agreement with Orange to extend the system from Trinidad to French Guiana.
Recognising the opportunity to supercharge connectivity in this area of the Caribbean and Latin America, Deep Blue One will provide best in class connectivity to French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, with the opportunity to connect offshore oil and gas rigs on the back of the industry boom in the region.
Commenting on Digicel’s investment, Oliver Coughlan, Digicel Group chief executive officer, said: “With subsea fibre providing the backbone of the global economy and serving as a catalyst to economic development, our substantial investment in submarine capacity underpins our confidence in the development of the region. A great example of this is the connectivity options we will be able to provide, both onshore and offshore, to the oil and gas industries in countries like Guyana and Suriname as they capitalise on the boom in the region. ”
This build will complement Digicel’s existing Southern Caribbean Fiber network which has approximately 3,000 km of submarine cable connecting 20 islands in the Eastern Caribbean, running from Trinidad and Tobago up to Puerto Rico with onward connectivity to Miami and New York.
The 2,000 km cable installation for Deep Blue One has five branching units, plus the capability to provide connectivity for offshore rigs, with anywhere from two to eight fibre pairs in each segment, offering a minimum of 12Tbit/s capacity, per fibre pair.
Importantly, the cable is routed to be able to connect the many offshore oil and gas rigs and the build will include new cable landings in Trinidad, Tobago – with a new route between Trinidad and Tobago – and Suriname. With cable installation beginning in mid-2023, the project is expected to complete in early 2024.
As a major player in the submarine cable industry, with investments in over 40 cables worldwide, Orange will rely on its expertise to act as landing party in Cayenne for the French Guiana branch and to operate the cable landing station on behalf of Digicel while its subsidiary, Orange Marine, will be in charge of laying the cable.
Peter Hobbs, Group Director International and Wholesale Business at Digicel Group, added: “As a Digital Operator serving over 13 million customers in 32 countries globally, we’re focused on driving economic opportunities for our customers. This is an exciting next phase for us – it’s about delivering quality, reliability, performance – and importantly, opportunity. We’re excited to get going on this.”
Beyond connectivity, this cable system will bring a full economical ecosystem for the benefit of all. Indeed, in a 2019 report published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), entitled “The economic contribution of broadband, digitisation and ICT regulation: Econometric modelling for the Americas”, it was suggested that an increase of 10 percent in fixed broadband penetration would result in an increase in 1.9 percent in GDP per capita.