SPLANG Signs Deal to Connect French Guiana to EllaLink Cable

SPLANG's deal with EllaLink connects French Guiana to a transatlantic subsea cable, enhancing Europe-Brazil connectivity.By John Tanner, Developing Telecoms
January 23, 2024

SPLANG, part of Collectivité Territoriale de Guyane (CTG), has signed a deal to connect French Guiana to the EllaLink transatlantic subsea cable connecting Portugal and Brazil.

According to a statement from EllaLink, SPLANG has contracted Alcatel Submarine Networks to build a new 2,100-km subsea branch that will give EllaLink a new landing point in Cayenne, French Guiana. EllaLink didn’t give a timeline for the project’s completion.

The new link will include two fibre pairs and use a ROADM WSS branching unit that allows direct connectivity from French Guiana to continental Europe without regeneration, and with an RTD latency of less than 80ms. The new branch will also enable direct connections from French Guiana to Fortaleza, Brazil.

The project is receiving funds under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, as French Guiana is the home of key EU space programmes, including Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, which hosts the launch pads for Arianespace.

Vincent Gatineau, SVP of subsea infra development at EllaLink, said the new branch positions French Guiana as a new telecoms hub, attracting data flows from the West Indies and the sub-region. EllaLink also plans to use the new link to stimulate the development of new infrastructure, including connections to the underserved Amazonian region of Brazil, he said.

“This initiative will not only reinforce the French Guiana infrastructure resilience but also generate a change of paradigm for the whole Caribbean region's connectivity pattern,” Gatineau said.

SPLANG president Marie-Lucienne Rattier said the project would serve the French Guiana population in accelerating digital development of the territory.

The EllaLink branch will be the first subsea link to extend French Guiana’s international connectivity outside of the Latin America and Caribbean regions. It currently has two live subsea cable connections: Kanawa, which connects French Guiana and Martinique, and Americas II, which runs between Brazil and Florida. A third subsea cable, Digicel’s Deep Blue One, which links French Guiana and Trinidad and Tobago, is scheduled to be ready for service sometime this year.

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