So, You Want to Build a Cable System

Kieran Clark

By Kieran Clark
July 22, 2019

What Are the Odds?

System development is a trial from concept to commissioning, typically taking anywhere from 18-24 months During this time, the system developer will clear a number of typical milestones that will pave the way for system installation and ultimately its full commissioning.

There are many quantifiable factors that help determine whether or not a planned system enters service. Using a comprehensive data set coupled with refined statistical analysis, it is possible to develop a predictive model to determine the probability over time of a given system developer’s chance of success.

To develop such a model, we have identified several key factors to determine historical trends. After these trends have been identified, it is then possible to predict the relative success of system development.

We identified three primary time-based values that will ultimately determine the system developer’s success:

  • Time from announcement to Contract-In-Force (CIF)
  • Time from CIF to start of Marine Route Survey
  • Time from start of Marine Route Survey to start of Manufacturing

Conceptual Model

It is typically believed that once a system is Contract-in-Force (CIF), it possesses all the financing it needs to design, manufacture, install and commission a submarine cable system. But recent practice has also shown that financing is provided in stages and few “blank checks” are offered at the outset of a system development. Assuming there are five gates in the financing of a system, namely initial announcement of system, CIF, start of marine route survey, start of manufacturing and commissioning / Ready for Service (RFS), a conceptual model to determine the probability of success in developing a submarine cable system is as follows:

How Does it Work?

The following methodology was applied in developing a predictive model:

  1. Using the SubTel Forum Cable Database, data was compiled for submarine cable systems (Name, RFS) for RFS years of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, including cable systems that failed to mature and become reality.
  2. Using the SubTel Forum website search feature, the applicable system within chosen RFS years were searched and first dates registered were noted for each of the following notices:
    1. Initial Announcement of system
    2. CIF
    3. Start of Marine Route Survey
    4. Start of Manufacturing
    5. End of Commissioning / RFS
  3. The applicable number of days were then calculated in these corresponding fields.
  4. For those fields without a date, they were logically addressed as necessary to maintain the model, but also noted within the data table.

A predictive model was created from the table of data using a probability breakdown showing X percent of systems achieve CIF if they are announced publicly and then Y percent make it to the next stage.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 107 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 42.