ARBR, the Argentina to Brazil Submarine Cable System

Larry Schwartz of Seaborn and Leigh Frame of Xtera discuss development of ARBR - an important regional system for Argentina.

Larry Schwartz (top) and Leigh Frame (bottom)

By Larry Schwartz and Leigh Frame
July 24, 2018

Completing the Regional Puzzle for Argentina

Despite the huge increase in the number of new subsea cable systems installed and planned in recent years, regional customers across the globe still face many of the same issues today that they always have; a lack of affordable and available inter-regional connectivity, the great expense of creating new systems to feed onward connectivity, and the fact that large local incumbent operators often control both the regional telecoms markets and access to the international infrastructure.

In Argentina these issues are prevalent and compounded still further by the ageing of the existing international submarine system infrastructure, with the primary routes from Argentina, SAC, SAM-1 and Atlantis-2, all being installed almost two decades ago.  These and other issues are being addressed by Seaborn Networks’ Argentina to Brazil Submarine Cable System (ARBR), which not only provides regional interconnectivity but also onward routes to the USA and beyond via Seaborn’s new Seabras-1 Submarine Cable System.

Regional Growth in Argentina

Over the last twelve months Argentina has recovered strongly from its 2016 recession and expanded at an estimated 2.7 percent annual rate, driven by a strong rebound in investment and rising private consumption.  It is forecast to grow even more strongly over the coming two to three years1.  The increased economic stability since the change in government at the end of 2015 and the return to the international debt markets means that Argentina has also been successful in attracting significant foreign investment particularly in the telecoms industry. EdgeConneX are building a new Data Center in Buenos Aires, and the Blackstone Group with Riverwood Capital Partners have invested $190 Million to acquire MetroTel.  Telecommunications is seen as a strong development driver for the economy in Argentina and, in support of this strategy, one of the first actions of the Macri Administration in November 2015 was to form a new telecom regulator, ENACOM.  This positive landscape heightens the need for a new regional build, and when you consider that the price for international connectivity between Argentina and US remains more than 2.5 times higher2 than the price for connectivity between Brazil and the US, the drivers for the ARBR system are obvious. In addition, much of the traffic between Chile and the rest of the world transits through Argentina, and there is continued compound annual growth of traffic between Argentina and the rest of the world. Argentina is a hotspot and Seaborn is ready with the touch-paper to help facilitate regional growth.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 101 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 24.