Telecoms company offers to pay for new subsea cable

| 28/06/2022 | 30 Comments

(CNS): International telecommunications company Seaborn Networks has made an unsolicited application to the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) to pay for and connect a new undersea communications fibre-optic cable. The proposal is separate from the Cayman Islands Government’s plans to seek a contractor to lay a third subsea cable, which it was expecting to fund.

The plans for an additional cable stem from concerns that the two existing cables, the MAYA-1 link to the US and the Liberty to Jamaica, will not be sufficient to meet the Cayman Islands’ future communications needs. Some $30 million has already been set aside in the current budget to explore the best way for government to roll out and begin the project. The first step this year was to award the contract to local consultants to make the business case based on the country’s needs for improved connectivity.

But this proposed project by Seaborn, which already has a network of cables linking the Americas, was made independently of government plans, OfReg ICT Director Sonji Myles told the press at a meeting last week.

The CIG’s decision to invest millions of dollars in a third cable has not yet been justified. Internet providers Digicel, Flow, Logic and C3 all use the MAYA-1 cable, owned by the parent company of Flow, which executives have argued still has many years to run and significant room for growth. But Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks has claimed that the costly project would ensure world-class connectivity to build Cayman’s economic future.

If the proposal by Seaborn is successful, the private sector rather than the Cayman public would foot the bill as the company would cover the cost of sinking and maintaining the cable, and the local telecoms companies would pay to use it, creating a more competitive environment and reduced internet costs as well as providing higher speeds and more capacity.

Myles said OfReg was reviewing the application and explained that a third cable could provide a number of advantages as it would add redundancy to the network, keeping the islands connected no matter what. This would make Cayman an even more attractive business jurisdiction, especially for those who need fast and reliable connections.

Myles said the financial sector would welcome improved connection, but it would also help Cayman grow the fields of medical technology and ICT more broadly, supporting the argument for the third cable.

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Category: Business, ICT, utilities

Comments (30)

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  1. Future Begins Now says:

    The Story of the 3 Undersea Cable Systems in Cayman.

    1. As I understand C&W/FLOW current system infrastructure are VERY OLD. The sea fibres are a couple years to END OF LIFE. Installed late 1990’s.

    2. C&W/Flow systems have multiple single Points of Failures. Very old design.

    3. Need to diversify from Single cable system Operator.

    4. The 2 new systems will project Cayman into the future of Telecoms technology with new Infrastructure.

    5. Based on points 1 to 3 , there will be a miraid of diversity right to the Customer (business or Residential). Storm, earthquake, fire, Utilities dig-up,local and International connection Route, International Service Providers, Security etc. Right now if a major Single point of failure occurs in Flow, Cayman will be CUT OFF. SO these New systems are URGENT for Diversity.

    6. Internet Service will become Cheaper for businesses and Residential. More productive.

    7. Bandwidth will be much higher for both business and residential. More technological and other job functions can take place from Home. (Remember pandemic).

    8. Medical monitoring and other funtions can take place from Home.

    9. The great Diversity, Reliability and Capacity of these “NEW SYSTEMS”,will enhance, Finance,Tourism, Medicine, Education et al in Cayman. They will also attract and Develop other businesses and advancement which we NEED TO BENEFIT ALL CAYMANIANS.

    But like the light in these fiber cables, the benifits will be “endless”.

  2. Fair Competition says:

    Flow has better what?

  3. Anon says:

    I wonder if this may mean we finally get fibre in our corner of East End as no one else can tell us when we may get it!

    • One Stimulates Another says:

      This can actually be a driver to push the providers to fully fibre Cayman to deliver all this high capacity, and diversity to everyone.

  4. DrainoverFlow says:

    Fibre is just a Cayman dream. You have to be asleep to believe in it.

    We can’t even get copper cable run all the way around Little Cayman. Go Flow!

  5. Anonymous says:

    A cynic might question whether this new proposal is doomed from the start by the lack of apparent opportunities for graft and corruption, not that anything like that has every happened here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t we just start with the simple peering we’ve asked for – 2 decades now!

      ALL our traffic goes to Miami and pops back down…. Please correct me if I am wrong?

      Motivations for peering

      Peering involves two networks coming together to exchange traffic with each other freely, and for mutual benefit.[6][7] This ‘mutual benefit’ is most often the motivation behind peering, which is often described solely by “reduced costs for transit services”. Other less tangible motivations can include:

      Increased redundancy (by reducing dependence on one or more transit providers).
      Increased capacity for extremely large amounts of traffic (distributing traffic across many networks).
      Increased routing control over one’s traffic.
      Improved performance (attempting to bypass potential bottlenecks with a “direct” path).
      Improved perception of one’s network (being able to claim a “higher tier”).
      Ease of requesting for emergency aid (from friendly peers).

      • NeedNew says:

        This would be patching and garment with new cloth or new wine in old wine skin.

        Forcing new technology and equipment on old infrastructure is very shortsighted and will eventually be counterproductive.

      • Someone that knows says:

        Unfortunately you are wrong on the peering. Local traffic stay local, the four carriers have been peering for a couple of years now.

    • Anonymous says:

      A cynic might say that it also has its own opportunities – just with different folks! be interesting to see who from government steps forward to sponsor this and challenge Jays idea 😉 Get the popcorn out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes that ministry has all of a sudden become very busy and very important. Opportunities abound.

      The original undersea cable proposal will draw interest from all kinds of important people attracting them like a moth to a flame…like bees to a flower….Like flies to a pile of…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bring it on Seaborn, maybe some Cayman competition finally

    • Anonymous says:

      not going to happen as no politicians will have a hand in it. Maybe Mr. Dart will put in a special cable – The Dart Phone!

      • Anonymous says:

        somehow you bring dart into this lol
        how does it feel to live with only him on your mind?

        • Anonymous says:

          They’re not the only one with Dart on their mind, CIG and all other movers & shakers on these Islands does. Can’t you see how much his claws are in here….guess you’re in obvious denial or living under a rock, if you don’t see that!

          • Anonymous says:

            no one is in denial but bringing him up when its not even anything to do with him…. thats a bit chaotic lmao. its

  7. Anonymous says:

    Once ANY telecom service or function remains primarily beholding to C&W/LIME/Flow’s control, we will continue to suffer in service and rates. Flow’s control of the main infrastructure (undersea and landside) is the monopoly they use to suck our blood.

    CIG/OfReg should welcome ANY viable option which offers Cayman an alternative.

    But OfReg is a branch of the same old Lodge tree as C&W/Flow, let’s see how serious they are. Minister Jay, Cayman’s best interests or Lodge influence?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m getting a starlink and leaving all of these poor customer service companies alone. Logic actually isn’t bad. But the rest, forget it. 100 mb per second guarantee for $99 usd a month.

    • Anonymous says:

      You really think the regulator going to approve Starlink without a piece of that pie going to the local mafia?

      • Anonymous says:

        How do you imagine flow are going to stop anyone using starlink if the Russian army can’t even stop Ukraine?

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. I expect them to fight and say its not allowed on island first… then they will realise they can’t fight it and then charge some ridiculous fee or permit.

        Typical of the world, people work hard to control the gateway so that they can control you but tell you they are taking all the risk. Then you try to take the risks on by yourself and they (monopolies, corporations with large sector control and governments) fight tooth and nail to stand in between you and the service you want then tell you that you still need to pay them because… because… reasons.

      • Anonymous says:

        Starlink is not relevant to a local regulator. Basically grabs a signal out of the sky rather than through local infrastructure. No different than if you bought a satellite phone.

        • Anonymous says:

          Right. That’s pretty much what it is. No legal basis for it to be “regulated” by anyone here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Given it’s a portable dish that doesn’t have any interface with the comms system, why would the regulator have anything to say about it ( or for that matter even know what you are doing!).

        • Anonymous says:

          They still require permission from regulators for the user terminals to operate in RF spectrum 10.7 – 12.7 GHz and 14.0 – 14.5 GHz spectrum. So they are going through the process of approval to operate in said spectrums.

    • Just sayin says:

      In the developed world you can easily get 900 Mbps for less than half that cost.

      • Cable and Wireless says:

        I pay £40 with Vodafone for 900MBps with a 100MBps boost if needed. While this is fantastic compared to what I pay on Island, I will say this.

        Flow has much better, and professional technicians!

        The clown crew Vodafone sent to manage my installation left multiple micro bends and conducted no end-to-end testing! This created multiple delays and took two crews to rectify.

        I work in this space and was the only reason they took my complaints seriously.

        While you have to wait a bit longer for increased speeds. Be happy that your techs are certified and not just cable pullers!

    • Anonymous says:

      Starlink will be available in Cayman Q3 2022.


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