Ocean Networks (ONI) confirms the launch of its Caribbean Express (CX) cable project, to build a carrier neutral subsea cable system connecting Points of Presence between West Palm Beach (Florida) and Balboa (Panama) with branch connections to Mexico and Columbia. In addition, the system will have future connectivity to Cuba, Grand Cayman, Guatemala, Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The Caribbean Express (CX) cable system will utilize the latest Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology and have 18 fiber pairs linking Florida to Panama. The CX cable system will fill a requirement for the emerging markets of Central America by providing low latency connectivity to the NAP of Americas in Miami (Florida) and the Jacksonville (Florida) NAP. The CX cable system will be the only system in the Caribbean region that can offer full fiber pairs to the market.
The Caribbean Express (CX) cable project will cost approximately $300 million. Ocean Networks (ONI) has to date already invested significant capital in progressing the route development of the system. This includes market analysis, permit and environmental studies and securing landing party agreements.
To complete the funding of the project, Ocean Networks (ONI) has enlisted Commenda, an Atlanta-based merchant bank. Commenda has previously worked with corporate and governmental funds as well as US and foreign banks to privately fund projects like the Caribbean Express cable.
The consumer demand for a new submarine cable system between Central America and the US is enormous. Traffic is nearly doubling every two years.
According to Ocean Networks (ONI), several large corporate customers have already expressed interest in either a dedicated fibre pair or managed bandwidth as soon as CX is completed.
In addition, due to the need for a system like CX in the region and its impact on the economies of the Central and South America, there is the potential for governmental partners to join this project as well.
As a result, Ocean Networks (ONI) has positioned branch units in strategic locations along the route to easily enable future connectivity. Once completed CX will be the only system that can offer new dedicated dark fibre pair IRUs in the Caribbean market.
The Caribbean Express (CX) cable system is expected to be ready for service in early 2024.
Ocean Networks (ONI) plans to issue request for quotation to potential system suppliers in March, with the awarded contracts in force by July 2021. Ocean Networks (ONI) is also working to secure the remaining capital commitments.