Cobian acquires rights to Trans-Caribbean Cable Network

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cobian International Group has acquired the rights to the Caribbean undersea cable project that was being developed by the Trans-Caribbean Cable Company (TCCC) consortium, the CEO of Cobian International, Joanne Negron, told BNamericas.

Cobian, through its wholly owned subsidiary Triton Telecom, is building an alternative submarine cable project - called Seahorse-1 - that will link Miami, Cacique in the Dominican Republic, and Isla Verde in Puerto Rico.

According to Negron, TCCC's Trans-Caribbean Cable Network (TCCN) project is now on hold while Cobian develops Seahorse, though Cobian may look at TCCN again once Seahorse is completed in 2011.

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"It's something we're going to discuss as we go along... It's not dead but Seahorse-1 takes priority. One undersea cable at a time," she said.

Since the signing of the deal in January, TCCC's founders Brian Crawford and Jeff Fleisher have been working with Triton on Seahorse, Negron said.

The route that Seahorse-1 is taking is completely different to that of TCCN, as is its business model, Negron said.

TCCN was a consortium of more than 60 carriers, whereas Seahorse-1 is an ownership model.

"Seahorse is more viable in that it is not the consortium model. Our customers will actually purchase their fiber pairs and purchase their capacity. They own their assets. We will not own anything more than the right to maintain, support and service it for the lifetime of the cable. So we remain carrier neutral and don't compete against our customers," Negron said.

TCCN had been in the pipeline since 2004, when TCCC was awarded a 20-year concession by Jamaica's telecoms regulator OUR.

The first phase, named the Central Caribbean North Sub-Project (CCNSP), was designed to interconnect Jamaica and the NAP of the Americas, in Miami. Secondary phases of the network were planned to extend the cable to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia, and there was even talk of seeking permission to extend the Jamaica-Dominican Republic section to Cuba.

Seahorse-1 has a more direct route than that of TCCN, Negron said. A first leg will run 1,900km from the NAP in Miami to Puerto Rico, and a second leg will run from Miami to the Dominican Republic. After that, a short link of 172km will join the two islands. Another leg will also eventually branch off the Miami-Puerto Rico link to Jamaica.

Israeli networking infrastructure solutions provider ECI Telecom is supplying the infrastructure, which will support up to 40Gbps per channel.