Caribbean telecom giant Columbus International has agreed a deal to help Ocean Networks Inc. build a new submarine cable system connecting Panama to the US island of Hawaii.
The news comes almost a month after Ocean Networks claimed that it had secured funding to start working on the 9,700 km trans-Pacific cable system. Columbus, according to a statement, has agreed to provide a landing station for Ocean Networks’ submarine cables in Panama.
The second phase of the project is to lay cables between Hawaii and the South American country of Chile, Ocean Networks reveals on its website. “In addition, branching units will also be positioned off of (Manta, Ecuador), (Lima, Peru) and (Arica, Chile) for future connectivity.”
In addition to providing a landing place, Columbus will help design and construct the cable station and provide network operations and management services.
The cable system is designed to connect a large part of Latin America with the Asia Pacific region – including Australia and New Zealand – through numerous undersea cables crisscrossing Hawaii. The project is slated to be completed by 2016.
Analysts say the telecom network will also benefit the Caribbean countries as well as the U.S. East Coast. Columbus, which owns an extensive submarine cable network in the Caribbean, will use the cable system to provide connectivity to Latin American countries and the Caribbean region using sub-sea network routes.
Based in Bridgetown, Barbados, Columbus, which operates in 27 markets in the greater Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region, is estimated to be managing 70% of the region’s traffic. The firm made US$504 million in revenue in 2013, according to Moody’s rating agency.