Musings On Issue 100
By Stephen Nielsen
May 21, 2018
It’s Been One Heck of a Ride So Far
In April 2001, Wayne Nielsen pulled together some of the little capital from the recently established WFN Strategies and bought a ticket to attend SubOptic 2001 in Kyoto. His goal? To use the conference to drum up new business and clients for his burgeoning contracting company.
What he found, however, were representatives from all parts of the submarine telecoms industry speaking for the first time in three years and discovering that their industry was in a dire situation. Comparing notes for the first time since the last conference, it was becoming obvious that submarine telecoms was a sinking cable ship and every attending company was still on board.
“Everybody knew this was it,” said Wayne Nielsen, president and publisher of Submarine Telecoms Forum. “There was no more work. The installers were busy, but not the guys who were building cable, and you’ve got to build the cable first, meaning you’re building systems that were going to be installed a year later. So, we knew the installers were finishing up later in the year and then there was nothing. There was nothing being built. It’s like everything stopped. And, at Kyoto it became apparent.”
The Kyoto conference served as an unpleasant epiphany for many submarine telecoms industrialists. For Wayne, however, it also highlighted what, to him, was a glaring deficiency for these businesses.
“I realized, with this happening literally right in front of us, we as an industry [didn’t] have any kind of place to talk,” said Wayne. “We had no magazine. We had no anything. There was no blogging… There was no place for submarine fiber people to talk about what the hell was going on. I came up with the idea that we needed some kind of forum.”
With this idea in mind, Wayne approached Ted Breeze, a design and marketing specialist he had worked with at BT Marine. Together, they had supported BTM’s various marketing endeavors, and produced Soundings, a submarine telecoms publication by BTM. Taking that experience, the duo began planning their new project.