Intra-Europe Submarine Cable Systems

The BlueMed cable system is developing by Telecom Italia Sparkle, linking Palermo with Genoa in Italy.

The BlueMed cable will cross the Tyrrhenian Sea connecting Sparkle’s Sicily Hub open data center in Palermo, which serves eighteen international cables, with Genoa’s new open landing station, directly connected to Milan’s rich digital ecosystem. BlueMed will also include multiple branches within the Tyrrhenian Sea and is set to support further extensions southbound of Sicily.

With a capacity up to 240 Tbps and about 1,000 km long, BlueMed will provide advanced connectivity between Middle East, Africa, Asia and the European mainland hubs with up to 50% latency reduction than existing terrestrial cables connecting Sicily with Milan.

BlueMed cable system is privately owned by Telecom Italia Sparkle. BlueMed cable system shares fiber pairs and wet segment with Google's Blue cable system.

BlueMed is planned to be operational in 2022.

The NO-UK Cable System is an open cable system providing a total of eight dark fibre pairs and up to 216 Tbps system capacity, connecting Stavanger in Norway and Newcastle in England. 

The NO-UK cable is building by NO-UK Com, the consortium comprising Altibox Carrier as the operator, Haugaland Kraft, BKK, Ryfylke IKS, Green Mountain, Polysys and Hatteland Group.

Through Altibox Carrier, the consortium can offer dark fibre or capacity backhaul routes to any major PoP in the Nordics or UK. 

The NO-UK will be a part of a larger European fibre network established by Altibox Carrier, Euroconnect-1, that will ensure robust and state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, connecting Norway to important digital hubs such as London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Hamburg. 

The NO-UK cable system is supplied by Xtera. The supply contract has come into force, and the NO-UK cable system will be ready for service by the end of Q4 2021.

The Skagen Fiber West is a 170km and repeaterless submarine cable connecting Norway (Larvik) and Denmark (Hirtshals). 

The Skagen Fiber cable system consists of 48 fiber pairs, provides over 1920 Tbps of system capacity and a designed round-trip delay (RTD) of approximately 1.7 ms between the Larvik cable landing stations in Norway and Hirtshals cable landing station in Denmark.

 

The Skagen Fiber cable system is owned by Lyse/Altibox (100%).

In December 2019, Altibox acquired 100% of shares in Skagenfiber AS and the Skagen Fiber cable system between Norway and Denmark. Combined the Skagen Fiber cable system and the NO-UK cable system, Altibox Carrier is establishing a large fiber network across Europe, EUROCONNECT-1.

The Skagen Fiber cable system was ready for service on November 4th, 2020.

On the Norwegian side, the cable meets up with Altibox' extensive national fibre network allowing for low latency connectivity to any of the major data centre locations, such as Stavanger, Rjukan and Oslo.

In Denmark, the cable is extended by Altibox Carrier's new international network achieving POP to POP connectivity between major hubs.

The Skagen Fiber cable provides a low-latency alternative from Oslo to major European interconnection points such as Esbjerg, Hamburg, Amsterdam and London, creating new diversity from Sweden where most of the traffic to and from Norway transits.

 

Skagen Fiber West
Technical parameters of the Skagen Fiber West cable system (Source: Altibox Carrier)

The COBRA Fiber Optic Cable is a 325km dark fiber G.654.D low loss cable between Eemshaven in the Netherlands and Endrup (Esbjerg) in Denmark via the German sector of the North Sea.

The COBRA Fiber Optic Cable can be connected to a subsea cable to the UK in Esbjerg, and a subsea cable to Norway in Bulbjerg.

The COBRA Fiber Optic Cable has been laid alongside the COBRAcable HVDC submarine electricity interconnector.

The COBRA Fiber Optic Cable has primarily been installed to control the HVDC electricity interconnector,  the remaining capacity is used for commercial purposes.

Both the COBRA Fiber Optic Cable and the COBRAcable HVDC submarine cable electricity interconnector are owned by TenneT TSO and Energinet. The Dutch company Relined Fiber Network is responsible for leasing the dark fiber capacity on the COBRA Fiber Optic Cable.

The COBRA cable forms a completely redundant and low latency route to Denmark. Running over the COBRA cable, the latency from Copenhagen to Amsterdam is less than 9ms (leading latency has been 11.5 ms), and latency from Copenhagen to London is 13.8 ms (leading latency has been 16.7 ms).

 

About the COBRAcable

The COBRAcable has been designed to facilitate the direct transport of wind energy generated at offshore wind farms, facilitating the transport of renewable energy and enhancing the security of supply.

COBRAcable is a 325km HVDC submarine cable electricity interconnector between Eemshaven in the Netherlands and Endrup in Denmark via the German sector of the North Sea.The COBRAcable submarine cable directly interconnects the high-voltage grids of the Netherland and Denmark. The COBRAcable has a capacity of 700 MW and has been commissioned since 2019.

 COBRA cable route

 

 

The Celtic Norse Cable system is the first submarine fiber optic cable between Norway and Ireland, with further connectivity to the United States, enabling Norway to position itself as a prime entrant into the hyperscale and enterprise data center market.

The Celtic Norse cable route is approx. 2000km, lands at 

  • Oysanden, in Melhus municipality in Norway, just south of the city of Trondheim, onwards terrestrial connections going south to Oslo-and mainland Europe, as well as spur cables linking Northern Norway, and
  • Killala Bay, County Mayo in Ireland, where the trans-Atlantic AEC-1 cable lands.

The Celtic Norse Consortium comprises Celtic Norse AS, Vodafone Iceland and Aqua Comms.

Aqua Comms is the operations partner for Celtic Norse Cable system, as the landing party in Ireland and providing system NOC services to the consortium.

The Celtic Norse cable system is planned to be ready for service (RFS) in 2021.

 

NSC (North Sea Connect) is the first new-technology cable to connect Newcastle in the UK and Denmark, providing diversity between the UK and Northern Europe avoiding London.

The NSC cable system connects AEC System directly into Europe using the existing CeltixConnect-1 Irish Sea crossing as well as the CeltixConnect-2 northern Irish Sea crossing

There is a Branching Unit to facilitate future connections to Germany or the Netherlands.

The North Sea Connect cable system is owned and operated by Aqua Comms.

The CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) is submarine cable connecting Dublin and Blackpool via the Irish Sea.

The CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) connects with the existing CeltixConnect-1 and the North Wales Connect to form a fully diverse and reliable circuit between Dublin and Blackpool, with connectivity to New York and London through the AEConnect network, and a Branching Unit to facilitate connection to the Isle of Man.

The CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) is a part of Aqua Comms' North Atlantic Loop network. CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) and CeltixConnect-1 (CC-1) form a fully diverse ring between Dublin and Blackpool.

CeltixConnect-1 (CC-1) is a 131km long submarine cable system with 72 fibre pairs between Ireland and the U.K. 

CeltixConnect-1 (CC-1) provides the shortest, most secure crossing of the Irish Sea from Dublin to Anglesey in the north-west coast of Wales.

CeltixConnect-1 (CC-1) was ready for service in 2012 and is a part of Aqua Comms'North Atlantic Loop network.

CeltixConnect-1 (CC-1) and CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) form a fully diverse ring between Dublin and Blackpool.

C-Lion1 submarine cable, also known as Sea Lion,  is a 4-fiber-pair and 1175km submarine cable from Helsinki in Finland to Rostock in Germany under the Baltic Sea, being the first direct submarine cable link between the Nordic region and continental Europe.

C-Lion1 (Sea Lion) provides a direct, low latency and cyber secure Internet backbone connection between Finland and Germany, Before the completion of C-Lion1, all data transmission to Finland has taken place via Denmark and Sweden.

Cinia Group leads the Sea Lion initiative as the developer and builder of the submarine cable, and later as an open access network operator. The Finnish Government is an enabler and investor of the initiative together with institutional investors OP-Pohjola and Ilmarinen. Investments with equity and debt financing will total at approximately 100 million Euros. The sea cable initiative is designed to meet the commercial terms and moderate profitability as long term infrastructure investment, bringing also significant direct and indirect economic benefits such as decisions by international data center operators and data intensive organizations to locate their operations in Finland.

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications finalized the feasibility study on the C-Lion1 (Sea Lion) undersea cable project in June 2012. In August 2015, the Finnish government approved the construction of the C-Lion1 cable system. And Sea Lion cable project was completed in early 2016.

The C-Lion1 cable project is  supplied by ASN, with a total cost of approximately Euro 100 million.

CrossChannel Fibre is a next-generation 550km subsea cable and the first fibre-optic subsea cable to be built across the English Channel in nearly twenty years.

CrossChannel Fibre connects Slough, United Kingdom and Paris, France.

CrossChannel Fibre is a high-fibre-count and non-repeatered subsea system, contains 96 fibre pairs, each providing over 20 Tbps of capacity throughput

CrossChannel Fibre is invested by CrossLake Fibre, and will be ready for service in the fall of 2021.

CrossChannel Fibre is designed to support the increase in bandwidth requirements from telecoms, enterprises, content providers, as well as financial, gaming, and media companies that require high capacity, low latency connectivity.

The Black Sea Fibre Optic System (KAFOS) is a 504km subsea cable connecting Istanbul, Turkey with Bucharest, Romania.

The KAFOS cable passes through Bulgaria and under the Black Sea, from Istanbul to Bucharest.

The KAFOS cable system has a design capacity of 8Tbps.

The KAFOS cable system was ready for service in January 2021.

KAFOS Cable Route
KAFOS Cable Route, Source: Türk Telekom International

 

HAVSIL is an unrepeated subsea cable connecting Norway to continental Europe, with a cable length of 120km and 96 fiber pairs.

HAVSIL is the first subsea cable project fully built, operated and financed by Bulk Fiber Networks, partnered with Fugro for marine survey, NSW (part of Prysmian Group) as cable manufacturer, and Cecon for the installation and marine operations.

The HAVSIL cable between Norway and Denmark spans Skagerrak, the strait separating the two nations, with 96 fiber pairs fully buried on the seabed for protection and reliability. HAVSIL significantly improves connectivity, capacity and route diversity between Norway and continental Europe.

HAVSIL delivers a low latency, high capacity, express route between Bulk’s data center campuses N01 in Kristiansand and DK01 in Esbjerg. 

Bulk offers flexible IRU or long-term lease agreements for single or multiple Dark Fiber pairs on the HAVSIL cable system.

The HAVSIL cable system is expected to be ready for service in November 2021.

HAVSIL Cable Map
HAVSIL Cable Map, Source: Bulk

 

IRIS is a new high-speed undersea cable system, spans approximately 1,700 km in length and connects south west of Iceland to Ballyloughane Strand in Galway, Ireland.

The IRIS cable system is designed as a six-fiber pair trunk with a total system capacity of 108 Tbps with each fiber pair delivering 18Tbs.

The IRIS cable system is privately owned and operated by Farice. Farice is fully owned by the Icelandic Government and plays an important role in Iceland's infrastructure for the greater public good and economic life in Iceland. In additional to the new IRIS cable system, Farice owns and operates two submarine systems connecting Iceland to Europe, FARICE-1 and DANICE.

The IRIS cable system is supplied by SubCom.

SubCom annouced contract-in-force for IRIS cable system in April 2021. Manufacture of the cable and equipment will take place at SubCom’s manufacturing headquarters in Newington, NH, USA during 2021 and early 2022, with main lay installation operations scheduled for summer 2022. The system is expected to be ready for service by the end of 2022.

IRIS Cable System & Farice Network
IRIS Cable System & Farice Network, Source: Farice

 

Albania Crossing is a new direct optical fiber route connecting Athens to Milan, with the combination of subsea and terrestrial segments, ready for service in June 2021.

Albania Crossing crosses Albania, the Italy-Albania submarine cable and the Italian backbone, establishing the shortest path from Athens to Milan with the possibility to reach all the other major hubs in Western Europe through Sparkle’s extensive continental network. The Italy-Albania submarine cable is a 220km and repeaterless submarine cable connecting Bari, Italy and Durres, Albania.

Albania Crossing is built by Telecom italia Sparkle, in cooperation with Albtelecom, the largest telecommunication company in Albania.

 

 Albania Crossing
Albania Crossing, Source: Sparkle

 

Italy-Albania is a 220km and repeaterless submarine cable connecting Bari, Italy and Durres, Albania.

Italy-Albania cable system consists of 3 fiber pairs, originally designed with each one fiber pair for working, protection and backup.

Italy-Albania cable system is jointly owned by Telecom italia Sparkle and Albtelecom, ready for service in 1997.

In June 2021, Telecom italia Sparkle launched new Albania Crossing route, which crosses Albania, the Italy-Albania submarine cable and the Italian backbone, establishing the shortest path from Athens to Milan with the possibility to reach all the other major hubs in Western Europe through Sparkle’s extensive continental network.

The IONIAN submarine cable system is a 320km repeaterless submarine cable connecting Crotone, Italy, with Preveza, Greece.

The IONIAN submarine infrastructure is complemented by two terrestrial fibre rings connecting the system to the cities of Milan and Rome in Italy and Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece.

IONIAN offers wholesale capacity, optical spectrum and dark fibre to telecommunication operators and content providers.

The IONIAN submarine cable system is jointly developed and owned by IslaLink and Elettra, a fully owned subsidiary of Orange.

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, IslaLink is an independent and neutral telecommunications operator specialized in submarine fiber-optic systems and related activities. IslaLink is now owned by Fiera Infrastructure, a leading investor across all subsectors of the infrastructure asset class. Fiera Infrastructure acquired 100% of IslaLink in July 2018.

IONIAN submarine cable route
IONIAN submarine cable route

 

The Italy-Greece 1 (IG1) fiber cable is a 169km repeaterless submarine cable connecting Otranto in Italy with Aethos in Greece.

The IG1 fiber cable was ready for service in 1995, owned by WIS Telecom. WIS Telecom was born as M-Link International Gateway of Orascom companies. In November 2016, UNIFI communications., a leading US-based international telecommunications carrier, acquired 100% of WIS Telecom.

The IG-1 fiber cable hasn't been utilized to its full potential, due to its unusual origin alongside an Italy-Greece undersea electrical power cable.

Both the submarine electrical power cable and the IG-1 submarine fiber optic cable illustrated were constructed by Pirelli in 1995 for TERNA, the largest independent electricity transmission system operator in Europe.

As a result, the IG-1 fiber cable does not have the traditional arrangements found with most undersea fiber cable systems, such as cable landing licenses issued by national (telecommunications) authorities, purpose-built beach landing facilities, and purpose-built cable stations.  At the time, TERNA’s primary objective was the construction of the power cable from Italy to Greece, and the installation of the IG-1 fiber cable was secondary.  In other words, the IG-1 fiber cable was built at the same time as the power cable to satisfy TERNA’s long-term internal communications needs for the power cable.

Within the IG-1 cable, TERNA included plenty of extra fiber, which suggests they may have been planning to sell dark fiber to third parties.  As it turned out, TERNA sold the entire IG-1 fiber cable to WIND Italy and retained only a few fibers for their own internal use.  At the time, TERNA made an agreement with WIND Italy to extend some of the fibers to reach WIND’s nearest Point of Presence (PoP) from the TERNA landing site, which primarily serves as TERNA’s electrical substation for the power cable.  Subsequently, WIND Italy transferred the ownership of the IG-1 fiber cable to its subsidiary, WIS Telecom. But WIND did not extend all of the spare IG-1 fibers out from the TERNA power substation, leaving many dark fibers stranded and unused at the landing facilities in Otranto, Italy, and Aethos, Greece.

OTEGlobe Kokkini-Bari submarine cable system is a 700km ring system connecting Bari, Italy and Kokkini, Greece.

OTEGlobe Kokkini-Bari submarine cable system is a private cable owned by OTEGlobe, ready for service in June 2004.

BalaLink is the first independent submarine cable built in Spain, spanning 262km to connect Valencia to Palma de Mallorca.

BalaLink cable system consists of 24 fiber pairs, without repeater, ready for service in October 2001, privately owned by IslaLink.

There are two additional system sections providing diverse and backup routes connecting Valencia to Palma de Mallorca. The first backup route connects Palma de Mallorca to Ibiza (158km) and the second route connects Ibiza to Valencia (154 km).  A fourth section was added into operation in 2013, linking the north of Valencia to Palma de Mallorca (250 km).  

In total, the BalaLink cable system has 824 km of submarine cable complemented by almost 200 km of terrestrial network, which links the customer sites with the 4 technical buildings (cable landing stations) of the system: two in Valencia, one in Ibiza and one in Palma de Mallorca. 

The BalaLink cable system is equipped for a potential capacity of 1 Tbps and can be scaled up to 44 Tbps to meet future demand.

BalaLink Cable Routes
BalaLink Cable Routes, Source:IslaLink

 

Mallorca Ring

In addition, IslaLink operates the Mallorca Ring, a 300km terrestrial fiber ring connects Palma with Manacor, Muro, Sa Pobla, Inca, Sóller and the technology park Parcbit, delivering a protected point to multipoint service that gives access to the networks of local operators in Mallorca.

Mallorca Ring Network
Mallorca Ring, Source:IslaLink

 

CanaLink cable system is a 1835km submarine cable connecting the Canary Islands to Rota, Spain's mainland.

CanaLink cable system is now 100% own by Canarias Submarine Link, SLU (CanaLink), the operation company owned by IT3 (Instituto Tecnológico de Telecomunicaciones de Tenerife, which is majority owned by Cabildo de Tenerife and devoted to the development of ICT sectors in the island). 

CanaLink was a joint venture equilly owned by IT3 and IslaLink, established in 2010 for the construction of the CanaLink cable system, wholly owned by IT3 since 2013.

The CanaLink cable system consists of several sub-systems:

  1. Tenerife – Rota, with a branch to Gran Canaria-East
  2. Tenerife – La Palma
  3. Tenerife – Gran Canaria West
  4. Tenerife – Peninsula protection (by means of a third-party cable)
  5. Rota – Asilah branch (called Loukkos: a system belonging to Maroc Telecom)

Furthermore, the system incorporates several terrestrial transmission networks:

  • In the peninsula, the network connects the landing points to the CLSs of Rota and Conil, and, from there, to Seville and Jerez respectively
  • In Tenerife, a dual route links the CLSs at Güimar and Granadilla and connects them to a metropolitan ring in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
  • In Gran Canaria, the landing points are connected to the CLSs of Tarahales (Gran Canaria-West) and el Goro (Gran Canaria-East). The terrestrial optical fiber network links them to las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • In the Island of La Palma, a terrestrial fiber pair connects the landing point to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

The CanaLink cable system was designed with an initial system capacity of 5.12 Tbps along the main segment from continental Spain (Rota) to Tenerife, ready for service in 2011 and supplied by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN).

CanaLink Cable RouteCanaLink Cable Route, Source: IslaLink

 

BT North Sea is a submarine cable system that comprises 2 individually distinct branches, North and South.

The North branch (Iceni) connects Eastern England (Winterton-on-Sea) to the Netherlands (Callantsoog). The Southern branch (Mercator) connect South Eastern England (Broadstairs - Joss Bay) to Belgium (Oostende).

The BT North Sea cable system will increase telecommunication reliability and diversity between the regions and increase data transmission capacity and speeds, helping to satisfy the growing demand for transmission capacity in Europe, The UK and the wider globe.

BT North Sea cable system is privately owned by BT, supplied by SubCom, to be ready for service in 2021.

BT North Sea

 

Tangerine is a submarine telecommunications cable system across the English Channel linking the United Kingdom and Belgium.

The Tangerine cable lands at:

  1. Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs, Kent, United Kingdom
  2. Mariakerke near Ostend, West Flanders, Belgium

The Tangerine cable system consists of four fiber bundles, each of 48 fibers, for a total of 192 fibers (96 fiber pairs) and a total cable length of 121 km.

The Tangerine cable is privately owned by Level3 (now Lumen), supplied by ASN and ready for service September 2000.

Zeus is a new highly fortified, hybrid, ultra-low-loss (ULL) cable directly connecting the UK to mainland Europe via Lowestoft, UK and Zandvoort, Netherlands.

Zeus is developing by Zayo, runs parallel but diverse to Zayo's existing Circe North subsea route.

Zeus is deploying with high-fiber-count cable, 100% double armoured cable and ULL fibre technology, with 192 fiber (96 fiber pairs), for a potential capacity of more than 4,000 Tbps.

Zeus will enable critical connectivity and next generation technology within this essential corridor for carriers, hyperscalers and large enterprises, all dependent on low-latency, low-loss and high capacity bandwidth connections.

Nibble is Telecom italia Sparkle's software-defined ultra-long-haul backbone connecting Sicily with the major Points of Presence and datacenters in Europe.

Telecom italia Sparkle announced to construct the Nibble network in June 2019.

Built on a 6,500 km photonic backbone, the Nibble network connects Sparkle's two major submarine cable landing stations in Sicily - Palermo and Catania - with Milan, Marseille, Frankfurt and Paris to the West and with Athens, Istanbul and Tel Aviv to the East.

Nibble has been extend by a further 6,300 km to northern Europe, interconnecting also London, Amsterdam and Brussels, thus reaching a total length of 12,800 km with a redundant network architecture for seamless connectivity from the Mediterranean basin to Europe.

Telecom italia Sparkle sets a renovated Network Operating Center (NOC) in Sicily Hub,which also serves as a 24-hour supervision center for Nibble.

By 2022, Sicily Hub will be also the landing point of BlueMed submarine cable system, the new multi-fiber submarine cable that will cross the Tyrrhenian Sea connecting Sicily with Genoa and Milan with up to 50% latency reduction compared to terrestrial cables. The BlueMed will form part of the Nibble network.

Nibble NetworkNibble Network

Scylla Subsea Cable System is an unrepeatered subsea cable system linking London and Amsterdam, with a cable of 211km in length and 96 fiber pairs.

Scylla Subsea Cable System is the first subsea cable system between the UK and the Netherlands since 1999.

Scylla Subsea Cable System is privately owned and operated by euNetworks, ready for service on September 9, 2021.

Key features of the Scylla subsea cable system include:

  • A low loss network that is entirely new fibre deployment.
  • The terrestrial backhaul networks utilise new low-loss Corning SMF28 Ultra G657. A1 fibre cables and three entirely new amplification sites for the two cable landings and intermediate repeater in the UK.
  • With existing sites and backhauls built over 20 years ago, these new facilities eliminate the unreliability of old infrastructure and provide scalable and power-efficient amplification housing, with significantly reduced long-run power demands.
  • Scylla is a non-hybrid 96 pair double-armoured sea cable, solely using Corning’s SMF28 ULL (ultra low loss) G654.C pure silica fibre; giving all customers the benefit of future-proofed ultra-low attenuation on the 211km unrepeatered system.
  • This low attenuation is critical to achieving lowest cost per bit, directly driving greater bandwidth per fixed-cost transponder.
  • As well as ensuring deeper burial naturally, and laying the cable with precision and less impact on the seabed, euNetworks has buried Scylla up to 3 metres deep, offering better protection against strikes both today and in the future.

euNetworks launched Super Highway 1 linking Dublin and London to Lowestoft in November 2019. 

Scylla is the second Super Highway linking Lowestoft to IJmuiden and then onto Amsterdam. Combined with euNetworks’ existing metro networks in Dublin, Manchester, London and Amsterdam, the Scylla subsea cable system enables any data centre to any data centre connectivity between all these metros.

euNetworks Scylla subsea cable system

 

Super Highway 1 links Dublin via submarine cable to Southport, and then on to Manchester, London, and Lowestoft, directly connecting key data centres.

Key features of the Super Highway 1 includes:

  • New fibre deployment
  • 1000km high fibre count
  • 340 new chambers, 239 new fibre joints, 2 new cable landing stations and 4 new PoP sites
  • Optimised for lowest attenuation
  • Subsea distance beach manhole to beach manhole of 221km
  • Diverse from other live and planned systems
  • Direct access to any Dublin and Manchester data centres
  • Onward connection to Europe avoiding London

Super Highway 1 is privately owned and operated by euNetworks, ready for service in November 2019.

euNetworks also owns and operateds the Scylla Subsea Cable System linking London and Amsterdam.

euNetworks Scylla subsea cable system