The Americas Region Caribbean Optical-Ring System (ARCOS-1) is a 8,700 km submarine cable system connecting 24 landing points in 15 countries, including the United States, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico.
The ARCOS-1 Consortium comprises ARCOS-1 USA, Inc, Inc and its wholly-owned direct subsidiary A.SurNet, Inc, and eighteen (18) international carriers, including:
ARCOS-1 USA and A.SurNet and their affiliates hold 96% of the voting and ownership interests in the ARCOS-1 cable system, with the remaining ownership held by 18 international carriers, each with nominal ownership interests.
A.SurNet owns and operates the ARCOS-1 cable landing station in North Miami Beach, Florida.
After various acquisitions and transfers, ARCOS-1 USA and A.SurNet as well as the cable landing station in North Miami Beach and the majority of the ARCOS-1 cable system are now controlled by Liberty Latin America Ltd., a Bermuda company.
The ARCOS-1 cable system has twelve (12) fiber pairs on repeaterless segments and three (3) fiber pairs on repeatered segments, and a current end of life capacity of 8.4 Tbps.
The ARCOS-1 Cable Landing Station includes:
A U.S. law prohibiting doing business with Cuba following the Cuban Revolution in 1959 prevented any U.S.-Cuban cable building. Finally in 2016, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dropped the last legal restrictions for a direct U.S.-Cuba cable.
In 2018, ARCOS-1 USA filed the FCC an application to add a branch to Cuba and a cable landing station in Cojimar, Cuba (ARCOS-1 Cuba Extension). The cable landing will be accomplished by creating a branch from an existing branching unit of the ARCOS-1 Cable that lies approximately fifty-six (56) kilometers off the coast of Cuba to a beach manhole (“BMH”) in Cojimar, Cuba, located at N23˚10’ 1.55’’, 82˚18’ 54.58’’W. The new branch shall be designated as “Segment 26” of the ARCOS-1 Cable. The ARCOS-1 Cable will then extend through a cable land route to an existing cable landing station (“CLS”) in Cojimar, Cuba (the coordinates of the property are: Nlocated at N23˚9’ 44.98’’，82˚18’ 45.97’’W. The ARCOS-1 Cuba Extension will consist of two fiber pairs and will have an initial capacity of 100Gbps and planned capacity of 1.6 Tbps.
ARCOS-1 USA and A.SurNet and their affiliates will own 96% of the capacity on the ARCOS-1 Cuba Extension, with the remaining four percent of the capacity to be offered to the 18 ARCOS-1 consortium members corresponding to the percentage commensurate with their ownership interests in the cable system. Columbus Networks Limited (CNL), or a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary of CNL, will be the landing party in Cojimar, Cuba. The cable landing station in Cuba and the duct (cable land route) from the beach manhole to the Cojimar, Cuba cable landing station is owned by Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA), the incumbent, state-owned telecommunications provider in Cuba. The physical cable inside the duct will be owned by CNL or an affiliate of CNL. ETECSA will provide the Cuban cable landing station with updated telecommunications equipment to operate SEGMENT 26, and ETECSA will acquire an indefeasible right of use (IRU) on some capacity on SEGMENT 26 from CNL. Neither CNL nor its subsidiaries are, or will become, a licensed telecommunications carrier in Cuba.
It appears that ARCOS could finally become the first commerical fiber optic cable to directly connect the U.S. and Cuba. There are an existing cable between Florida and the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (the GTMO-1 cable system), and a cable from Guantanamo Bay to Puerto Rico (the GTMO-PR cable system).
The application for license for the ARCOS-1 Cuba Extension is still pending for approval.