Tampnet Continues to Grow Its Presence In Gulf of Mexico
By Trygve Hagevik
September 22, 2021
Over 95% of international voice and data communication takes place via submarine fiber networks, connecting people, systems, and devices around the globe. Despite this, the common misconception is that this communication takes place via satellite. Since the first transatlantic submarine cable was deployed in 1866, many technological advancements have changed the way we communicate. After the first transatlantic fiber-optic cable was laid in 1988, linking the US to the UK and France, their usage had quickly amplified. As devices grow more sophisticated, the demand for high-speed, low-latency communications has arisen, especially in offshore regions that have traditionally relied on satellite using Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) networks. VSAT networks utilized offshore represented low bandwidth and high latency communications capabilities that require a better alternative to improve performance. With the inefficiencies in satellite communications, offshore facilities realized the need for 4G/LTE connectivity.
With its Americas headquarters in Houston, Texas, Tampnet Inc. has been working on extending 4G/LTE coverage throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and the North Sea for the past four years. Since the initiative began, Tampnet’s coverage in the GoM has expanded to about 80,000 square miles, providing essential, reliable, and high-speed data through a network of submarine fiber optic cables and microwave links. The combination of these two technologies is unique to Tampnet, allowing the company to deliver connectivity to a variety of devices, including personal devices and smartphones.
The company’s expansion into the GoM is a continuation of its commitment to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity to customers in the Gulf. Connectivity is a necessary ingredient for companies to implement digitization strategies and improve technologies and communication with onshore facilities.
Building a Network
As Tampnet continues to extend the network infrastructure in the GoM, the network is becoming equal to that of the one they operate in the North Sea, which follows the same service model. In 2020, Tampnet purchased 1,200 KM of subsea fiber from BP, replicating the North Sea presence with the services they’ve developed for the GoM. With this acquisition, Tampnet was able to take complete ownership over the fiber cable network to de-risk the business by securing long-term access to the only fiber network in the GoM. In addition, it ensures that Tampnet has the infrastructure necessary to match its customer’s needs and fits with the goal of international expansion. As the only existing fiber network in the GoM, it catapults Tampnet ahead as a market leader.
Since this purchase, the company has signed a series of agreements that have expanded its service area by approximately 25% to deliver 4G/ LTE services to more customers. These agreements have been made with two deep water field developers, both highly experienced with VSAT, 4G/LTE, and fiber communications. These are not the only agreements of this type that will come to fruition. Tampnet has another eight similar deals in the pipeline for the remainder of 2021 and 2022, which will significantly continue Tampnet’s expansion in the GoM.
These strategic purchases and partnerships have allowed Tampnet to grow to be the largest deep water network operator in the GoM and support the company’s continual growth. Following the success of the North Sea network expansion, and the current efforts to grow in the GoM, Tampnet has plans to introduce reliable network infrastructure for offshore LTE coverage in Trinidad and Tobago and off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Meeting the Needs of Offshore Industry
Throughout the GoM, there are a large number of clients in the deep water region that rely on reliable connectivity. From oil rigs, fishing boats, ships, and yachts, devices, equipment, and employees need high-speed 4G/LTE. This is especially true as offshore service providers prioritize digitalization. With the fiber connectivity Tampnet is providing to clients in the GoM, the goal is to lower the cost threshold for oil and gas companies and field developers to connect to the Tampnet infrastructure.