[London, ENGLAND] Global communications company Cable & Wireless
announced Friday that it will build the world’s most advanced IP
transatlantic cable in conjunction with optical network specialist
The new cable, named Apollo, is scheduled to become operational in
the summer of 2002.
Cable & Wireless is putting US $450 million into the venture,
with additional funding coming from Alcatel. However, with today’s
huge demand for bandwidth, payback is virtually guaranteed.
According to Cable & Wireless, one major U.S. communications
company has already agreed in writing to purchase a quarter of
the cable’s capacity. This augurs well for the project, as does
analysts’ forecasts of bandwidth demand growing around 100 percent
“The bandwidth that Apollo will provide reflects our phenomenal
growth in IP and data traffic and our continued commitment to
becoming the leading global supplier of IP services to business
customers worldwide,” said Mike McTighe, chief executive of
global operations for Cable & Wireless.
So what makes Apollo better than previous transatlantic cables?
Three factors, says Cable & Wireless, naming them as
greater capacity, greater resilience, and what it terms as
In capacity, Apollo will be the first 80 wavelength transatlantic
system. In resilience, it is the first to use Alcatel’s enhanced
cable protection design, making it less prone to damage from
As for flexibility: Apollo can be configured either as a standard
ring protection architecture or fully meshed, giving customers
the level of protection they require for handling voice, data or IP.
Hopefully, it bears little resemblance to the first transatlantic
telegraph cable — laid way back in 1858 between Ireland and
Newfoundland. It failed, owing to poor insulation, and was replaced
in 1866 by two others. Since then, the Atlantic has been crossed
dozens of times with ever-increasing sophistication.
According to cable expert David O. Williams of the European Laboratory
for Particle Physics, there was ten-fold increase in transatlantic
capacity in the period from mid-1996 to mid-1999. A further ten-fold
increase took place from mid-1999 to the present.