The first transatlantic submarine cable system, TAT-1, went into service on 25 September 1956. From then on, there have been the TAT series of transatlantic submarine cable systems, until the latest one TAT-14.

The TAT-8 was the first transatlantic fiber-optic submarine cable, constructed in 1988, connecting the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The TAT-8 cable system contained two working fiber pairs and one fiber pair reserved as a spare. The signal on each optical fiber was modulated at 295.6 Mbit/s (carrying 20 Mbit/s of traffic).

Currently, most of the TAT series of submarine cable systems have been out of service, except for the TAT-14.

List of transatlantic cables connecting Amercia and Europe. 

System  Year (RFS)
Atlantic Crossing 1 (AC-1 1998
Columbus III 1999
Atlantic Crossing 1 (AC-2 2000
Yellow /AC-2 2000 
TAT-14 2001 
Flag Atlantic 1 (FA-1) 2001 
GTT Atlantic 2001 
TGN Atlantic 2001 
Apollo 2003 
GTT Express 2015 
AEC-1 2016 
MAREA 2018 
AEC-2/Havfrue 2019 
Dunant 2020 
Grace Hopper 2022 
Amitié 2022 

 

Apollo is a 13,000 transatlantic submarine cable system, consists of 2 segments: Apolo North of 6200km and Apollo South of about 7000km.

The Apollo cable system creates two fully diverse transatlantic paths. Apollo North connects the United Kingdom and the US, and Apollo South directly connects France and the US.

The Apollo cable system was ready for service in February 2003, with 4 fiber pairs and 3.2Tbps initial design capacity on both Apollo North and Apollo South, for a total of 6.4 Tbps trans-Atlantic capacity. In 2014, the Apollo cable system was upgraded to a system capacity of 25Tbps with Alcatel-Lucent’s 1620 Light Manager (LM) submarine line terminal equipment using coherent transmission at 100 Gbps. In 2015, it achieved the capacity of 8Tbps per fiber pair.

The Apollo cable network was built, owned and operated by Apollo Submarine Cable System Limited, a UK based company jointly owned by Cable & Wireless Worldwide and Alcatel-Lucent. It is now owned by Vodafone. 

The Apollo cables land in New York and New Jersey in the US. In New York, the cable landing station is located on Parr Property, Brookhaven Technology Center, Shirley, New York (40º 50.5’ N and 72º 53’ W. In New Jersey, the cable landing station is located at Wall Township, Manasquan, New Jersey (40º 9.5' N and 74º 6.1’ W).

In the UK, the Apollo North cable lands at the Bude Cable Landing Station, seamless interconnection with EIG, Glo1 and other cable systems.

In France, the Apollo South cable lands at Lannion Cable Landing Station.

Apollo Cable System
Apollo Cable System, Source: Vodafone

 

The AC-1 (Atlantic Crossing 1) is a 14,000 km trans-Atlantic submarine cable system linking the USA and three European countries, the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany.

Global Crossing announced to build the AC-1 submarine cable project in 1997. And the AC-1 cable system was ready for service in 1999.

The AC-1 cable system comprises four fiber self-healing Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) ring network connecting the United States with the United Kingdom and Germany, with an initial design system capacity of 40Gbps (8*2.5G DWDM, 2 fiber pairs).

The AC-1 cable lands at the following cable landing stations:

  • Brookhaven Cable Landing Station, the United States,
  • Whitesands Bay Cable Landing Station, the United Kingdom
  • Deutsche Telekom's Sylt Cable Landing Station, Germany
  • KPN's Beverwijk Cable Landing Station, Netherlands

The AC-1 cable system was privately owned by Global Crossing. Following the acquisition of Global Crossing by Level3 in 2011 and the acquisition of Level3 by CenturyLink in 2017, the AC-1 is now wholly owned by CenturyLink, as well as AC-2/Yellow, Mid-Atlantic Crossing (MAC), Pan-America Crossing (PAC), South America Crossing (PAC), etc.  

 

The Yellow cable system (also known as Atlantic Crossing 2,  AC-2) is a 6,400 km trans-Atlantic submarine cable system linking the USA and the UK.

The AC-2 was put into service in September 2000, with an initial design capacity of 320 Gbps on 4 fiber pairs.

In May 1999, Level3 decided to lay the Yellow transatlantic cable system, with 4 fiber pairs.  At that time, demand was heavily outstripping supply. Other cables in place at the time included AC1, TAT 12/13. The construction and maintenance agreement for TAT14 had been signed, but the RFS date was not scheduled until late 2000. In 1999, long term indefeasible rights of use (IRU) for STM1/OC3 was priced at approximately $3 million and above. Coupled with this, the cost of ongoing operations and maintenance was in the region of $150,000 per year per STM1/OC3. The initial cost was relatively high for a single company, therefore the decision was taken to defray the large upfront project cost by entering into a strategic partnership. 

Level3 signed a coconstruction agreement with Global Crossing which took two out of the four fiber pairs on the Yellow cable system. Operating in this environment meant Level 3 already recouped half the cost for Yellow before construction even began. Global Crossing marketed their two fiber pairs of the Yellow cable system as Atlantic Crossing 2, or AC-2. Global Crossing's private Atlantic Crossing 1 (AC-1) cable system was ready for service in 1999.

Level3 owned two fiber pairs and signed an IRU agreement on a fiber pair with Viatel. In this way, Level3 recovered approximately 70% of capital costs on the Yellow cable system before the system even entered service.

The AC-2/Yellow cable lands at Level3's cable landing station at Bellport, Long Island, NY, and Global Crossing's cable landing station at Bude, the UK.

After the acquisition of Global Crossing by Level3 and the followed acquistion of Level3 by Century Link, AC-1 and AC-2/Yellow are now wholly owned by Century Link.

COLUMBUS III is a 9,900 km transatlantic submarine cable linking the US, Portugal, Spain and Italy. COLUMBUS III was ready for service in December 1999, with 2 fiber pairs and a design capacity of 20 Gbps.

The Columbus III consortium comprises:

  • AT&T,
  • Verizon,
  • Telxius,
  • Portugal Telecom,
  • Tata Communications,
  • Telecom Italia Sparkle,
  • Telkom South Africa,
  • Telecom Argentina,
  • Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad,
  • Embratel,
  • Cyta,
  • CANTV,
  • Ukrtelecom

 

The Columbus III cable lands at:

  • T1: Hollywood, FL, United States
  • T2: Ponta Delgada, Azores Island, Portugal
  • T3: Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
  • T4: Conil, Spain
  • T5: Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, Italy

 

Columbus III Cable Route
Columbus III Cable Route

 

The COLUMBUS-III cable system consists of five segments, S1, S2, S3, S4, and S5, with two optical fiber pairs per segment, initially designed to operate at 2.5 Gbps per wavelength per fiber pair in a trunk and branch structure configured as a collapsed ring. COLUMBUS-III was initially be configured with two wavelengths, designed to support up to eight wavelengths per fiber pair. The capacity of each fiber pair comprises thirty-two Basic System Modules (BSM), with each BSM containing 63 Minimum Investment Units (MIUs). Each fiber pair was equipped at the outset with a capacity of 1008 MIUs.

The COLUMBUS-III cable system also has four other terminal segments: Segment A, B, C and D, as shown in the figure below: 

Columbus III Cable System
Columbus III Cable System Segments

 

In 2009, the Columbus III consortium selected Xtera to upgrade the system capacity to 160 Gbps, with Xtera’s advanced 20 Gbps Differential Phase Shift Key (DPSK) Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE).

The FA-1 (FLAG Atlantic 1) is a 14500 transatlantic submarine cable system linking the US, the UK and France. The FA-1 was ready for service in June 2001.

The FA-1 cable system is privately owned and operated by Global Cloud Xchange (formerly FLAG Telecom).

The FA-1 cable system consists of FA-1 North between the US and the UK, and FA-1 South between the US and France  with following landing stations:  

  • Northport, New York, the US
  • Island Park, New York, the US
  • Skckewja, Cornwall, United Kingdom
  • Plerin, Brittany, France

The FA-1 cable system has six fiber pairs on both FA-1 North and FA-1 South, with initial design capacity of 4.8 Tbps (2x2.4Tbps), based on 10Gbps DWDM technology.

The FA-1 cable system was supplied by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), for a total cost of about US$1.1 billion, inclusive of cost on the terrestrial network connecting cable landing stations in the US and Europe.

In 2013, the FA-1 cable system was upgraded with 100Gbps DWDM technology, using Ciena’s GeoMesh solution.

FA-1 cable map
FA-1 cable map, Source: Global Cloud Xchange

 

GTT Atlantic (formerly Hibernia Atlantic) is a 12,200 km private transatlantic submarine cable system in the North Atlantic Ocean, connecting Canada, the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Hibernia Atlantic Submarine Cable System was ready for service on April 8, 2001, with a design capacity of 10.16 Tbps.

In January 2017, GTT completed the acquisition of Hibernia Networks for $USD607 million (initial price was $590 million) , which includes Hibernia Express, Hibernia Atlantic and other assets.

Before the acquisition, Hibernia Networks owns and operates a global network serving more than 100 markets and spanning 25 countries. Hibernia Networks serves customers with unparalleled support, flexibility and service in a variety of industry segments including financial markets, web-centric, media and entertainment, and telecom service providers. Providing enterprise-class and wholesale global connectivity solutions, Hibernia Networks offers secure and diverse optical transport, Ethernet and carrier-grade IP transit services. Hibernia Networks also offers dedicated cloud connectivity, low latency services, DTM and HiberniaCDN for seamless anytime, anywhere content delivery. Hibernia Express, Hibernia Networks’ transatlantic cable, provides the lowest latency connections available between major commercial and financial centers in North America, Europe and beyond. The state-of-the-art cable system garnered two Global Carriers Awards in 2015 — Subsea Project of the Year and Best Subsea Innovation, as well as the Global Telecom Business Innovation Award for 2016.

GTT Networks Map

GTT Express (formerly Hibernia Express) is a 4,600 km and 6-pair Trans-Atlantic submarine cable system linking Canada and the United Kingdom. Project Express is built with the state-of-the-art submarine network technology, specifically designed for the financial community stretching from North America to Europe. Hibernia Express offers the lowest latency route from New York to London with 58.55ms round trip delay.

Hibernia Express initially designed with 100 Gbps transmission capacity using TE SubCom’s C100 SLTE platform. It is a 6-fiber-pair submarine cable, with a portion of the fibers optimized for lowest latency and a portion optimized for 100x100 Gbps design capacity. The total cross-sectional design capacity of the Express cable is over 53 Tbps. Hibernia Express was ready for service on September 15, 2015.

Hibernia Express is privately-owned by Hibernia Atlantic, and form a part of Hibernia Atlantic's Global Financial Network which is specifically designed to meet the demanding performance and reliability requirements of the financial community.

In Jan. 2017, GTT completed the acquisition of Hibernia Networks which includes five subsea cables, including Hibernia Express, the lowest latency transatlantic cable system, and eight cable landing stations.

 

The TAT-14 is a 15,428 km transatlantic submarine cable system, connecting the United States to the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The TAT-14 cable system is comprised of four fiber pairs, each operating at 40 x 10 Gbps DWDM, with a total design capacity of 3.2 Tbps. 

With a partial SDH ring protection network structure, the TAT-14 cable system has a total system capacity of 1.87Tbs calculated as: 
Southern route: 41 x 10Gbs channels + 640 Gbs SDH capacity 
Northern route: 18 x 10Gbs channels + 640 Gbs SDH capacity 
Total = 1.87 Tbs

The TAT-14 cable system was ready for service on March 21, 2001.

TGN-Atlantic is a 13,000 km transatlantic submarine cable system linking the United States and the United Kingdom. TGN-Atlantic was ready for service in June 2001.

The TGN-Atlantic cable system is now privately owned and operated by Tata Communications.

The TGN-Atlantic cable system was originally invested and built by Tyco International, as part of its Tyco Global Network. In 2000, Tyco International announced to design, build, operate and maintain its own global undersea network, the Tyco Global Network (TGN), including TGN-Atlantic, TGN-Pacific, and TGN Europe-Asia, etc.

In 2005, Indian VSNL acquired Tyco Global Network (TGN) for $130 million.  In 2008, VSNL was rebranded as Tata Communications.

The TGN-Atlantic cable system consists of two separate cables routed slightly differently, but both cables landing at the same cable landing stations in the US and the UK:

  • Wall Township, New Jersey, the United States
  • Highbridge, Somerset, the United Kingdom

Each of the TGN-Atlantic cables has 4 fibre pairs, initially designed with 64x10Gbps DWDM technology, for a total system capacity of 5.12 Tbps.

The TGN-Atlantic cable system was upgraded to 40Gbps and 100G DWDM technology with Ciena's solutions, respectively in 2011 and 2013.

TGN Atlantic
TGN Atlantic, Source: Tata Communications

 

America Europe Connect (AEConnect, AEC-1), formerly called Emerald Express, is a private trans-Atlantic undersea cable system owned by Aqua Comms (formerly Emerald Networks), connecting Shirley, NY and Killala on the West Coast of Ireland, spanning more than 5,200 km with stubbed branching units for future landings, using CeltixConnect, an Irish Sea subsea cable wholly owned by AquaComms, to provide extended connectivity to London and greater Europe.

Featuring the latest technology of 130 Gbps x 100 Gbps per fibre pair in a total of 4 fiber pairs, AEC-1 provides low latency connectivity across the Atlantic, with 67.83ms between Equinix NY5 – Equinix LD6.

The AEC-1 cable lands at AT&T's Shirley Cable Landing Station, at 1 Coraci, Shirley, Long Island, New York. Aqua Comms houses the SLTEs of the AEC-1 cable system at 1025Connect, the premier network-neutral carrier hotel at Long Island.

AEConect has been ready for for service since Jan 2016.

Aqua Comms incorporates people and plans from the former Emerald Express/Emerald Networks project. Aqua Comms is the parent of Sea Fibre Networks, which built CeltixConnect.

In early 2018, Aqua Comms announced the investment in HAVFRUE cable system and branded as America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2), the AEConnect is rebranded as America Europe Connect -1 (AEC-1).

AEConnect Trans-atlantic Network

MAREA is a new 6,600 km submarine cable system cross the Atlantic, connecting the United States to southern Europe: from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and then beyond to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

Marea means “tide” in Spanish.  Marea cable system is the first subsea cable connecting Virginia and Spain.

Facebook and Microsoft jointly designed MAREA as the first Open Cable System in the world. Telxius joined in later as the thrid party of MAREA consortium, operates and manages the MAREA cable system. TE SubCom is the turn key suppier for MAREA cable system.

MAREA lands at Telxius' Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station (CLS) at 1900 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach, where hosts Telxius' BRUSA cable as well. In Spain, MAREA lands at Telxius' Bilbao Cable Landing Station. Telxius is the landing party in Spain, while Microsoft is the landing party in the US.

MAREA is initially designed with eight fiber pairs and 160Tbps of system capacity.  MAREA cable system has been in-service since April 2018.

After the ready for service, there have been trials on the MAREA cable system with 400G DWDM technology supplied by both Infinera and Acacia, which demonstrated the OPEN Cable design and the transmission capacity of 26.2Tbps per fiber pair and system capacity of 200Tbps.

According to FCC documents, Facebook owns two fiber pairs in MAREA, Microsoft owns two fiber pairs in MAREA, Telxius owns the remaining 4 FPs. And AWS has acquired from Telxius a fiber pair in MAREA cable system on IRU basis.

 

Marea Cable Map

The HAVFRUE subsea cable is the first new undersea cable traversing the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the U.S. in nearly two decades, with a system capacity of 108Tbps and a trunk cable connecting New Jersey, USA to the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark with a branch landing in County Mayo, Ireland. Optional branch extensions to Northern and Southern Norway are also included in the design:

  • Main Trunk: Wall, New Jersey and Blaabjerg, Denmark, six fiber pairs.
  • Ireland Branch:  to Old Head Beach, Leckanvy, Ireland, six fiber pairs.
  • Norway Branch: to Kristiansand, Norway, two fiber pairs.

Havfrue means “mermaid” in Danish. 

The HAVFRUE consortium including Aqua Comms, Bulk Infrastructure, Facebook and Google. TE SubCom has been selected as supplier for the system on which route survey operations have begun. The projected Ready-for-Service (RFS) date for the HAVFRUE subsea cable is Q4 2019.

Aqua Comms is the appointed system operator and landing party in the U.S., Ireland, and Denmark.  Aqua Comms will market and sell capacity services and raw spectrum on its portion of the HAVFRUE cable system under the brand name America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2) as complementary to its existing transatlantic cable, America Europe Connect-1 (AEC-1).

HAVFRUE Cable Map

EllaLink is a submarine cable connecting Brazil and Europe, linking the major hubs of Sao Paulo and Fortaleza with Lisbon and Madrid. The main section of the EllaLink cable traveling from Sines to Fortaleza is approximately 5900 km.

The EllaLink cable system delivers 72 Tbps of capacity over 4 fibre pairs, supplied by ASN, with €25 million ($27.2m) financial support by the European Commission as part of its Building Europe Link to Latin America (BELLA) initiative.

EllaLink was a partnership between Spanish submarine cable operator IslaLink and Brazilian state-owned telecoms provider Telebras. By the end of 2019, Telebras had withdrawn from the EllaLink cable project.

EllaLink collaborates with Telxius to land the cable at Telxius' Fortaleza Cable Landing Station. 

The EllaLink cable system is expected to be ready for service in early 2021.

EllaLink cable map

The Dunant submarine cable system is a 6,600km submarine cable connecting Virginia Beach in the United States to the French Atlantic coast.

The Dunant cable system is the first ever in-service undersea cable featuring a 12 fiber-pair Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) design, with a total design capacity of 25 Tbps per fiber pair, to deliver record-breaking capacity of 300 Tbps across the Atlantic.

Named in honor of Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman, social activist, first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and founder of the Red Cross, the Dunant cable system honors his memory and commitment to humanitarian ideals. 

The Dunant cable system is the second private submairne cable built by Google, following its first private and non-telecom submarine cable Curie, connecting Chile to Los Angeles.

In France, the Dunant cable lands at Orange's La Parée Préneau cable landing station in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez. Google France has contracted with Orange to be the landing party in France. A landing party agreement governs the relationship between Google France and Orange.  Google France conveys to Orange ownership of the portion of the Dunant cable system that extends 12 nautical miles from the shores of France. Orange grants Google France an IRU for the same portion of the Dunant cable system. Further, Orange receives an IRU for two fiber pairs for the entire length of the Dunant cable system. 

In the US, Google is the landing party and lands the Dunant cable at Telxius' Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station. Google maintains control of the Dunant cable system in U.S. territory and international waters.

Google selects TE SubCom to design and deploy the Dunant cable system.

The US FCC has granted cable landing license for the Dunant cable system as of March 13, 2020.

 

 

WASACE 1 is the next-generation fiber-optic technology between Europe to Latin America, connects Fortaleza, the Canary Islands and Seixal with additional branches in Cape Verde, Madeira and Casablanca. 

WASACE 1 submarine cable system will provide 8 fiber pairs for a total capacity of 144 Tbps, each pair with an upgradeable initial capacity of 18 Tbps.

The project is expected to be completed in no more than 30 months, being Q2 2021 the projected Ready for Service (RFS) date for system WASACE 1.

WASACE 1  is invested by Hemisphere Cable Company and supplied by NEC.

WASECE1 Cable Route

The Grace Hopper Cable System is a new private subsea cable system invested by Google, following its CurieDunant and Equiano.

The Grace Hopper cable connects the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain, with 6,250 km from New York to the Cornish seaside resort town of Bude in the U.K. and 6300 km from New York Bilbao in Spain. 

The Grace Hopper cable is one of the first new cables to connect the U.S. and the U.K. since 2003. and the first investment by Google in a private subsea cable route to the U.K. and the first-ever route to Spain. The Spanish landing point will more tightly integrate the upcoming Google Cloud region in Madrid.

The Grace Hopper cable consists of 16 fiber pairs (32 fibers), a significant upgrade to the internet infrastructure connecting the U.S. with Europe.

SumCom is the supplier and turn-key contractor for the Grace Hopper cable.

The Grace Hopper cable project is expected to be completed in 2022.

The cable is named for computer science pioneer Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906–1992), best known for her work on one of the first linkers (compilers), which was critical in the development of the COBOL programming language. She’s also credited with famously finding an actual “bug” in a program; her team tracked down the source of a short circuit on the early Harvard Mark II computer to a moth trapped in a panel. It is to honor Grace Hopper’s legacy of innovation by investing in the future of transatlantic communications with a state-of-the-art fiber optic cable.

For more about Google's investment in subsea cable, please visit the Complete List of Google's Subsea Cable Investments.

 

Grace Hopper Cable Route
Grace Hopper Cable Route, Source: Google

The Amitié cable system is a 6600 km trans-Atlantic submarine cable connecting Massachusetts in the U.S., Le Porge in France, and Bude in the United Kingdom.

The Amitié consortium comprises Facebook, Microsoft, Aqua Comms, Vodafone (through Cable & Wireless Americas Systems, Inc.).

The Amitié cable system lands at:

  • Lynn Cable Landing Station, Massachusetts, USA
  • Bude Cable Landing Station, the United Kingdom
  • Le Porge Cable Landing Station, France

Facebook, through its subsidiary Edge USA, is the landing party for the Lynn landing. Facebook contracts with GTT, the owner of the Lynn Cable Landing Station for the landing facilites. Facebook has more than 80% of majority ownership on the Amitié cable system. 

Vodafone, through its indirect subsidiary Apollo Submarine Cable System Limited, is the landing party for the Bude landing.

Orange is the landing party for the Le Porge landing. Orange owns the portion of the Amitié cable system extending 12 nautical miles from the French shore, and grants to the Amitié consortium all their affiliates dark fiber IRUs on that portion of the Amitié cable system. Orange dosn't have any ownership on the Amitié cable system outside of the French water.

The Amitié cable system has a trans-Atlantic system capacity of more than 320Tbps, consists of three segments:

  • Segment 1.1 connects Lynn CLS with a branching unit BU1, with 16 fiber pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps using current technology, and a length of 5,276 kilometers.
  • Segment 1.2 connects Bude CLS in the United Kingdom to the BU1, with 12 fiber pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps using current technology, and a length of 645 kilometers.
  • Segment 1.3 connects Le Porge CLS in France to the BU1, with 12 fiber pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps using current technology, and a length of 871 kilometers.

The Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is the turn-key supplier for the Amitié cable project, to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

 

Amitié Cable Route
Amitié Cable Route