Tapping into Exploding Growth in CALA

By: Graham Williams

Jacksonville, Florida is disrupting the international network map and breaking barriers to connect to the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) with the landing of two major sub sea cables, America Movil’s AMX-1 submarine cable system and the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS). Located at the crossroads of networks coming together from Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami, Jacksonville now boasts connectivity to a combined 23,500 kilometers of fiber optic sub-sea cables stretching across 19 landing stations.

This unique collection of connectivity is primed to facilitate supply and demand for significant high-bandwidth connections between Latin America, North America and the Caribbean. In a recent investor report, America Movil estimated a 60 percent increase in data capacity demand per year in Latin America.  Telecommunications market research and consulting firm Telegeography highlighted a broader capacity trend, explaining “86 percent of Latin American bandwidth is now connected to the U.S. and Canada, making it the world’s highest-capacity inter-regional Internet route.” Consequently, the sub-sea cables rapidly expand Jacksonville’s telecommunications horizon to meet the needs of 10 bandwidth-hungry countries.

In an era where “cloud” is the buzzword that frames most conversations about technology trends, it is far too easy to forget that physical connectivity is the core infrastructure that opens up new markets.  The sub-sea systems landing in Jacksonville present a unique window for economic development by creating an opportunity for North American providers to address large new addressable markets to sell content, managed services and network services.  This opportunity should not be underestimated, and Jacksonville is positioned to sit at the gateway to these new markets.  The Central and Latin American countries directly connected to the AMX-1 cable represent an addressable market of Internet subscribers equivalent to nearly 80 percent of the total subscriber base in the United States.  The PCCS system connects to smaller Caribbean and Latin countries but provides unique, niche connectivity to a universe of Internet subscribers 20 percent larger than those in California.  By any measure, the eyeballs attached to the end of these cables represent increased access to meaningful residential and commercial demand for latency-sensitive content and services delivered via fiber networks.

Promised as the world’s longest 100 Gbps submarine cable system by America Movil, AMX-1 reaches 17,500 kilometers across seven countries and 11 landing stations to ultimately deliver a total trunk capacity in excess of 50 Tbps. The system extends Jacksonville’s reach to Barranquilla and Cartagena, Colombia; Cancun, Mexico; Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador, Brazil; Miami, Florida; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition to empowering significant connectivity for its partners, AMX-1 also enables America Movil to sell capacity to both U.S. and Latin America operators and providers seeking to exchange connectivity between the landing points.

“100G technology is playing a fundamental role in scalability as operators are seeking to manage their bandwidth expansion to meet increasing demands for content-rich services and to address new applications such as data center interconnection needs,” noted Philippe Dumont, president of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, in a press release announcing collaboration with America Movil on the AMX-1 build. To deliver this connectivity, the AMX-1 system leverages repeatered technology and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) to enable 10 gigabits per second (G), 40G and 100G wavelengths on the single system. This setup facilitates constant capacity upgrade on a flexible grid for channel spacing, which ultimately deters traffic disruptions.


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