Cross-Channel cable builders get ready for 2021 launch

The companies building a new cable across the English Channel have taken the latest step to ready the system for launch next year.

This week Pioneer Consulting revealed that specialist company EGS has completed the marine survey required for the CrossChannel Fibre project, which it notes is the first new cable to be built across the Channel in 20 years. Pioneer Consulting is providing systems integration services for the subsea portion of the cable and was therefore responsible for selecting the survey company. The cable is being built by Canada-based Crosslake Fibre.

When it unveiled the project in July, Crosslake Fibre indicated that the marine survey would be an “essential milestone” in the development of the cable system, which was scheduled to go into service in autumn 2021. It has not communicated any change to this timescale in the intervening months.

“We are excited to launch this historic subsea project and deliver a new, much-needed connection across the English Channel connecting the critically important data hubs of Slough and Paris,” said Crosslake Fibre Chief Executive Mike Cunningham. “This new fibre infrastructure has been optimized to create the shortest path between the two data hubs, providing users with an enhanced technical solution and materially lowering operating costs,” adding the by now customary observation about the increased importance of <insert relevant infrastructure element here> as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 550-km cable system will extend from Slough, to the west of London, for any non-locals, to the French capital. It will consist of 96 fibre pairs, each offering in excess of 20 terabits per second of capacity throughput. Its stated aim is to support the increase in bandwidth requirements from telecoms, enterprise and content providers, as well as serving specific low-latency connectivity needs from the likes of financial services, gaming and media companies.

Crosslake Fibre is clearly keen to tap into this growing demand for bandwidth. Just over a year ago it announced the completion of the first new fibre-optic cable between Toronto, Canada, and New York state, a 58 km link traversing Lake Ontario. And in the summer it disclosed that it has received additional investment – of an undisclosed amount – from its capital partner Tiger Infrastructure Partners. The funding will, amongst other things, support the development of new projects, it said, at the time.

“Crosslake Fibre has demonstrated its expertise and ability to successfully develop and deploy infrastructure projects globally. With its CrossChannel Fibre project, the company is well-positioned to support the increasing capacity needs of high-growth regions in Europe,” said Emil Henry, CEO and Managing Partner of Tiger Infrastructure Partners. “We are excited to strengthen our long-term commitment to Crosslake Fibre and to support its future initiatives.”

That’s a strong hint that there is more cable to come.

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One comment

  1. Avatar ian simpson 18/11/2020 @ 5:00 pm

    I find it interesting that companies prefer risking the vagaries of tide & trawling & anchors rather than contractual negotiations to simply lay it on existing cable-tray through the chunnel.

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