Third Undersea Cable Pointless, Says C&W

Cable & Wireless (C&W) has said that plans by the Cayman Islands government to sink a third sundersea cable system are unnecessary.By Cayman News
August 31, 2020

(CNS): Cable & Wireless, part of the consortium of members that use and operate the existing undersea telecommunications cables that keep the Cayman Islands connected to the rest of the world, has said that plans by government to sink a third undersea cable are unnecessary. Even if there was a five-fold increase in communication traffic over the next 10 years, there would be enough capacity in the current sub-sea network, officials from the islands’ oldest communications company has said.

Government is currently engage in an open tender seeking information on the idea of a third undersea information and communications technology (ICT) cable directly linking Cayman with the United States.

Joey Hew, the minister responsible for e-government, said at the recent Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum that government needed to land a modern submarine cable, which would be the foundation that could make the Cayman Islands a data and information hub, placing the country “at the cutting edge of modern business communications”.

He said the tender, which is now under consideration, was designed to kick-start the consultation on the cable and to collect information on how best to approach it.

But Paul Kirwan, Director, Consortium Cable Management for Cable & Wireless Networks, which has overseen the operations and management of both of the existing sub-sea cables since their inception, implied the move would be pointless.

“Even if Caymanian consumption were to increase five-fold in the next 10 years, there would not be a capacity concern for the current subsea network,” he said in a press release. “Should the need ever arise to repair a cable, the average time to do so is 15 to 25 days, however, most ISP routing systems are designed and scaled to automatically allow for traffic to be re-routed to the secondary cable route to facilitate repair without any noticeable impact or congestion,” he added.

In 2013 Cayman lost over a third of its international circuits following a “shunt fault” on the Maya-1 Cable and service was interrupted for about two days. In 2018 another cut in service occurred when the cable operators said it had scheduled the break in connectivity.

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