Colombia , Mexico , Honduras , Panama , Costa Rica , Nicaragua , Cuba and Guatemala

Ocean Networks plans Caribbean cable link

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 19, 2021
Ocean Networks plans Caribbean cable link

Atlanta-based submarine cable company Ocean Networks will build a system connecting West Palm Beach in Florida to Balboa in Panama, with branches planned along the route, the company announced on its website.

Branded Caribbean Express (CX), the system will be carrier-neutral (open to any operator or customer), utilize the latest space division multiplexing (SDM) technology and have 18 pairs of fiber optics, Ocean Networks said. 

The cable will have branches to Mexico (Cancún) and Colombia (Cartagena).

Future links to Cuba (Havana), Grand Cayman (George Town), Guatemala (Puerto Barrios), Jamaica (Kingston), Honduras (Puerto Lempira), Nicaragua (Bluefields) and Costa Rica (Limón) are also planned.

CX is designed to meet demand from Central American markets with lower latency connectivity to the NAP (network access point) of the Americas, located in Miami and Jacksonville (Florida), says Ocean Networks.

Opened in 2001, the hurricane-proof NAP of the Americas, or MI1, is a massive datacenter operated by US connectivity group Equinix and is considered the primary network exchange point between the US and Latin America.

NAP was built by datacenter firm Terremark, which in 2011 was acquired by US telecom group Verizon. In 2017, Equinix announced the acquisition of 29 Verizon datacenter colocation facilities in the US and Latin America - including the NAP.

The CX system is due to be ready for service in the first quarter of 2024, Ocean Networks said. 

According to market information and media reports, the project is budgeted at US$300mn.

The system will be one of Ocean Networks’ first "fresh" cables as the company owns over 8,000km of submarine systems that are mostly cables "repurposed for ocean science."

The firm spearheads the Submarine Cable Salvage, funded through a private investment group, to help protect the ecosystem of the oceans by repurposing out of service submarine cable systems.


Central America and the Caribbean has huge untapped demand for connectivity to the US, but Ocean Networks is not alone in seeking to seize the opportunity.

Global submarine telecoms network provider Seaborn Networks also plans a fiber optic cable system serving the Caribbean, connecting the US to Panama, as COO Andy Bax told BNamericas last October.

Seaborn mulls having one or two landing points in the US and Mexico each, as well as connections in Guatemala and El Salvador, according to Bax, saying the Caribbean remains underserved by the old and insufficient capacity of existing Atlantic submarine systems.

“This is a new route, one that doesn’t exist today. If you look at the cable map, there’s a big glaring gap in the middle of the Americas, this section of the Caribbean on the west side," Bax said at the time.

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