Q&A with Data Center POST’s Contributing Editor, Kathy Xu

Data Center POST recently spoke with Nigel Bayliff, CEO of Aqua Comms DAC, the operator of Ireland’s first dedicated subsea fibre-optic network interconnecting New York, Dublin and London, about the company’s new initiatives, its immediate plans to pursue new subsea cable builds, and the current state of the market.

Data Center POST, Kathy Xu (DCP-KX) Question:  We have seen some exciting announcements from Aqua Comms lately, with the company deploying a Point of Presence (PoP) within NJFX’s colocation campus and the formation of a strategic alliance with Seaborn Networks to provide a new, next-generation subsea route between South America and Europe. what are the drivers behind these opportunities?

Aqua Comms, Nigel Bayliff (AC-NB) Answer:  Aqua Comms is demonstrating to the market that we are committed to being innovative, flexible and dynamic. Establishing a PoP in the NJFX colocation campus grants our customers access to a diverse and growing ecosystem of carriers and service providers, whilst its strategic location enables us to bypass congested legacy New York City hubs, eliminate multiple points of failure and save our customers from facing hefty cross-connect fees.

Meanwhile interconnecting with Seaborn’s Seabras-1 cable system in Secaucus, New Jersey, in the location of Seaborn’s primary network operations center, allows both companies to offer geographically diverse backhaul and a variety of Points of Presence locations in the metropolitan areas relating to their landing locations.

Aqua Comms is continuously looking to expand and offer better services to meet our customers’ needs.

DCP-KX Q: Aqua Comms also has two new subsea cable systems in the pipeline. Could you provide some background on these cable systems?

AC-NB A: Aqua Comms has begun to develop CeltixConnect-2, a diverse, high capacity subsea cable system crossing the Irish Sea from Dublin to Manchester and connecting to the Isle of Man.  CeltixConnect-2 is a resilient system designed to complement the reliability of Aqua Comms’ existing Irish Sea subsea cable network, CeltixConnect-1. The new cable system, which will provide onward connectivity to New York and London through AEConnect, will utilise the most advanced fibre-optic technology to support the highest transmission capabilities, including 8QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), 16QAM and beyond.

In addition to CeltixConnect-2, Aqua Comms is in preliminary stages of development on North Sea Connect, the first modern, high capacity subsea cable system crossing the North Sea from the North East UK to Denmark.

DCP-KX Q: Aqua Comms’ AEConnect subsea cable network has been live for quite some time now. Are there differences between the customers of today versus the customer of years past when you were working with other systems?

AC-NB A: The biggest difference is that the need for capacity is greater and therefore customers are buying more capacity. Faced with this environment, Aqua Comms’ focus is to build a superhighway to serve the digital economy. So, we are intent on expanding the available capacity on our existing subsea networks by pushing the boundaries of technology, developing new cable routes, and extending the terrestrial reach of our systems to satisfy that demand.

DCP-KX Q: There seems to be an uptick of interest in subsea systems these days. We know 5G is a driver enabling mobility, what are the drivers for subsea capacity that you’re seeing?

AC-NB A: Exponential data traffic growth is driving unprecedented demand for new subsea cables. This tsunami of data is comprised of Over-the-Top content, hyperscale cloud service providers, streaming video platforms such as YouTube, eCommerce sites, dynamic social media, and online gaming platforms.

According to the GlobalWebIndex, the typical digital consumer now owns nearly four devices. When you consider that we now carry around smart phones with 4K broadcast quality cameras capable of transmitting real-time video via Facebook Live or to anywhere in the world, that is dynamic data requiring a lot of bandwidth. Hence, as the popularity of these and other consumer and business applications continues to rise, so will the demand for advanced subsea cable systems.

DCP-KX Q: Thank you for your time today. Readers seeking more information about Aqua Comms can visit  www.aquacomms.com.