Building Blocks and Specificities of Regional Systems

Jean-Francois Baget discusses what qualifies as a "regional" system and what drives the need for such submarine cable systems.By Jean-Francois Baget
July 20, 2020

What is a regional system?

There is no official definition of the Regional System, however the most widely accepted one is based on distance, where regional system may span from a few hundred kilometers to a few thousands, typically 3,000 to 4,000 km maximum.

Having defined the category with its distance, there are a wide range of technologies and topologies that can be deployed in the scope of regional systems, and many of these systems are more varied and complex to implement than large scale transoceanic cables. All available submarine technologies are applicable to regional systems, unrepeated or repeated, Spatial Division Multiplexing, wet plant flexibility, extensions to PoP and Data Centers.

Regional systems: the categories and their drivers

Even if each system has its own specificity, we can identify some families or typologies of systems:

  • Connection of remote locations, that are likely to take place with the support of governmental or multi-national organizations, one typical example being connection of Islands in the Pacific to the regional hubs
  • Enhancing the domestic connectivity in a country distributed across several island, or where a subsea direct route offers significant benefits over terrestrial routes. Such systems can also be combined with Oil & Gas connections
  • Enhancing the connectivity between close countries separated by the sea, typical examples being in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean
  • Connecting countries along a shore to a regional interconnection hub

In case of remote location, current submarine cables are typically replacing satellite connectivity, and any system will deliver a significant improvement in the user’s experience. As such systems are mainly founded by public organization and deliver public connectivity services, priority will be in the delivery of a cost effective and resilient solution. Good examples are the systems used to connect all islands in an archipelago.

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