– has sights set on connecting offshore oil and gas rigs
Digicel announced yesterday that it is making a significant investment in international submarine capacity with the building of its Deep Blue One subsea cable and to this end has signed a partnership agreement with Orange to extend the system from Trinidad to French Guiana.
Oliver Coughlan, Digicel Group CEO
Digicel in “recognising the opportunity to supercharge connectivity in this area of the Caribbean and Latin America,” noted that “Deep Blue One will provide best in class connectivity to French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, with the opportunity to connect offshore oil and gas rigs on the back of the industry boom in the region.”
Commenting on Digicel’s investment, Oliver Coughlan, Digicel Group CEO, said: “With subsea fibre providing the backbone of the global economy and serving as a catalyst to economic development, our substantial investment in submarine capacity underpins our confidence in the development of the region. A great example of this is the connectivity options, which we will be able to provide, both onshore and offshore, to the oil and gas industries in countries like Guyana and Suriname as they capitalise on the boom in the region. ”
The added capacity, Digicel noted, will complement its existing Southern Caribbean Fibre network, which has approximately 3,000 km of submarine cable connecting 20 islands in the Eastern Caribbean, running from Trinidad & Tobago up to Puerto Rico with onward connectivity to Miami and New York.
The 2,000 km cable installation for Deep Blue One has five branching units, plus the capability to provide connectivity for offshore rigs, with anywhere from two to eight fibre pairs in each segment, offering a minimum of 12Tbit/s capacity, per fibre pair.
Importantly, the cable is routed to be able to connect the many offshore oil and gas rigs and the build will include new cable landings in Trinidad, Tobago – with a new route between Trinidad and Tobago– and Suriname. With cable installation beginning in mid-2023, the project is expected to complete in early 2024.
As a major player in the submarine cable industry, with investments in over 40 cables worldwide, Orange will rely on its expertise to act as landing party in Cayenne for the French Guiana branch and to operate the cable landing station on behalf of Digicel while its subsidiary, Orange Marine, will be in charge of laying the cable.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.3 billion Euros in 2020 and 139,000 employees worldwide at 30 June 2021, including 80,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 263 million customers worldwide at 30th June 2021, including 218 million mobile customers and 22 million fixed broadband customers.
Present in 26 countries, Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group is touted as an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
Peter Hobbs, Group Director International and Wholesale Business at Digicel Group, added: “As a Digital Operator serving over 13 million customers in 32 countries globally, we’re focused on driving economic opportunities for our customers. This is an exciting next phase for us – it’s about delivering quality, reliability, performance – and importantly, opportunity. We’re excited to get going on this.”
Beyond connectivity, this cable system will bring a full economical ecosystem for the benefit of all. Indeed, in a 2019 report published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), entitled “The economic contribution of broadband, digitisation and ICT regulation: Econometric modelling for the Americas”, it was suggested that an increase of 10 percent in fixed broadband penetration would result in an increase in 1.9 percent in GDP per capita.