Business

Columbus, CWC inks deal to build cable station in Panama

Through the joint venture, the parents of Flow, LIME will provide services to Atlanta-based Ocean Networks

Wednesday, May 14, 2014    

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS firm, Columbus International, which operates in Jamaica as Flow, has inked a deal with US-based Ocean Networks to build a submarine cable station in Panama.

Columbus Networks, working through the recently formed alliance company with Cable and Wireless, CNL-CWC Networks, will design and construct a carrier class cable station to house the South America Pacific Link (SAPL) submarine cable system and provide network operations and management (NOC and NMA) services.

Ocean Networks, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and which develops submarine cable systems for governments, carriers, content providers and research and education groups, plans to run a 9,700-kilometre-long trans-Pacific cable that will connect Balboa, Panama to Oahu, Hawaii.

Columbus and Ocean Networks have agreed to include additional commercial agreements for onward connectivity from this link to the NAP of Americas and the Caribbean region, using a variety of the diverse subsea network routes.

"This is very significant as the South America Pacific Link system will fulfil a requirement for the markets of Central and South America for connectivity to the Asia Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand, via interconnections with existing and planned submarine cable systems," said a release issued by Columbus on Monday. "Hawaii is a mid-Pacific hub for numerous submarine cable systems. The SAPL system, which is planned for completion in mid-2016, will also provide a cost-effective, direct low latency route to Hawaii and open a previously untapped trans-Pacific market."

The parents of LIME and Flow partnered to build out their underwater fibre-optic network and international wholesale capacity business.

The joint venture between Cable and Wireless Communications and Columbus Networks resulted in the combination of 42,000 kilometres of cable connecting 42 countries in the Caribbean, the US and Central America.

Columbus has a 72.5 per cent stake in, and management control of, the joint venture, called CNL-CWC Networks, with CWC controlling the remaining 27.5 per cent share "with appropriate minority protections", apparently reflecting the asset value of the respective companies.

CNL-CWC Networks started out operations on an agency basis by providing joint sales and marketing services for each of CWC's and Columbus' international wholesale capacity services.

The alliance is to be broadened over the next year with Columbus and CWC contributing their sub-sea and related assets into the joint venture company, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals and certain other conditions being met.

Once the applicable approval requirements and conditions have been met, the joint venture will then assume ownership and management control of the international wholesale capacity operations of CWC and Columbus, and all new investments in infrastructure will be made, and owned by it.

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