Typical. Crap weather halts work on subsea fibre-optic cable between UK and France

Summer was good while it lasted


Strong winds and choppy seas have delayed the deployment of a new subsea fibre cable running under the English Channel connecting data centres in France and the UK.

The cable – called CrossChannel Fibre – is due to link Equinix data centres in London and Paris via Brighton on the South Coast of England and Veules-les-Roses near Dieppe.

Work was due to start this week, but the arrival of autumn storms has meant that cable laying has been put on hold until calmer weather is forecast.

Once complete, the CrossChannel Fibre will be the first subsea fibre-optic project laid across the English Channel in nearly 20 years. Built by Crosslake Fibre and terminating in Equinix data centres, the 520km cable should be capable of delivering over 20 terabits per fibre pair, of which there are 96.

Those behind the project claim it will provide the lowest latency fibre network between the capital cities of England and France. It is due to be ready for service later this year.

A spokesperson for Crosslake Fibre, which is working with Equinix on the project, said: "We are running one, two days behind at the moment due to weather as some of the work is weather sensitive. [This is] nothing out of the ordinary for offshore work, [and] any halts are temporary in nature."

They added: "None of the subsea cable has been laid. The shore-end landing work is weather-sensitive as we need vessels that can essentially beach themselves, so we are awaiting a window to do so in Brighton."

The work was scheduled to begin on Monday and, weather permitting, should take around three weeks to complete.

In other cable news, the 2Africa consortium – which includes the likes of China Mobile International, Facebook, Orange, Telecom Egypt, and Vodafone – has successfully added another leg of its subsea cable called 2Africa PEARLS, which connects Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Unhindered by fast-moving weather systems sweeping in from across the Atlantic, the 2Africa consortium extended its reach to the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan, it confirmed today.

It brings the total length of the 2Africa cable system to more than 45,000km, making it the "longest subsea cable system ever deployed."

Kevin Salvadori, VP of networking infrastructure at Facebook, one of those behind the project, explained that Africa is the "least connected continent, with only a quarter of its 1.3 billion people connected to the internet."

"The 2Africa subsea cable system will provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today," he added.

Earlier this month, Google's newest transatlantic subsea cable was finally hauled ashore in Cornwall, more than a year after the megacorp revealed plans to connect the UK and US.

The arrival of the Grace Hopper cable – named after the computer science pioneer – saw the 16-fibre pair (32 fibres) Google-funded cable successfully brought ashore near Bude on the picturesque northern coast of Cornwall. ®


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