Spain Offers Itself To The World As A Nerve Center For Submarine Cables

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Spain has everything going for it to become a nerve center for the interconnection of dozens of submarine telecommunications cables. The geographical position of its coasts, just in front of the American continent and a few kilometers from the African, allow the Iberian Peninsula to become the main European alternative to the United Kingdom.

From the cloud to the bottom of the sea, Spain welcomes 27 submarine cables, with the desire to multiply these deployments in the coming years. The sensitivity of the Spanish Government towards this business is manifest, always aware of the opportunity it represents. Thus, to questions from this newspaper, sources from the Executive have recognized their interest in facilitating bureaucratic procedures and eliminating barriers to encourage an activity of extraordinary strategic importance.

“It is a private and very dynamic activity, so economic aid will not be provided, but administrative barriers will be eliminated, ” said Roberto Sánchez, Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures, at the recent 35th Telecommunications Meeting of Ametic.

The relevance of these networks is increasing at exponential rates, given the evolution of data traffic in an increasingly digitized world. Sources from the consultancy IDC put the volume of global data in 64.2 zettabytes in 2020, a figure that will reach 175 zettabytes in 2025. A zettabyte is one billion terabytes or, what comes to the same thing, a trillion gigabytes. Without submarine cables, the Internet that we know would not exist. Thanks to these networks, data flows 16 million times faster than most fixed domestic connections.

Google’s Grace Hooper cable arrived in Spain yesterday to connect New York and Bilbao
These mammoth infrastructures, which cross oceans at depths close to 5,000 meters, connect the large data centers of all countries in the world. In their particular journey from the cloud to the bottom of the sea, the cables are prepared to withstand all kinds of vicissitudes, atmospheric pressure, accidental cuts or animal attacks. There is no hurricane or sharks that can beat them. Even intentional sabotage is healed in minutes, with a replication system that kicks in within hundredths of a second.

The qualities of Spain for this type of investment are extraordinary, not only because of its situation on the world map, but also because of the quality, quantity and competitiveness of the connections of its large telecommunications nodes.

At the same time, the Spanish alternative is of particular interest to the dotcom giants given the disturbing overcrowding of cables in the United Kingdom. It is difficult to imagine a natural catastrophe off the British coast or a large-scale sabotage, but if any of that were to happen it would compromise a considerable part of the submarine connections of Europe and America.

Given this hypothesis, the Spanish offer provides a very valuable way to connect Europe with the US, to safeguard the speed and low latencies of these intercontinental networks.

Google precisely announced yesterday the installation of its Grace Hopper, the submarine cable, in Sopelana (Bilbao), “an advanced submarine cabling system that connects the United States with the United Kingdom and Spain,” according to company sources. The cable consists of 16 pairs of fibers and is designed to “increase service reliability and offer high levels of network speed and flexibility, increase the capacity and power of Google services, and improve the overall European telecommunications infrastructure. “.

The same sources from the US giant point out that Grace Hopper is the first cable financed by Google to reach Spain and “is part of the company’s commitment to the economic recovery of Spain, offering consumers better access to Google products. and companies better performance of enterprise products such as Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace. ” Along its 7,140 kilometers, the Google cable connects the British Bude with BellPort, in New York State, passing through Sopelana beach.

A new study commissioned by DE-CIX, EllaLink and Interxion, and prepared by TeleGeography highlighted the projection of Madrid on the Internet map, “bringing together exchange points, data centers, cloud regions and connections with the main submarine cables of the Peninsula through Bilbao and Lisbon “. According to their data, and thanks to these mega-fruits, the bandwidth of southern Europe has experienced in just five years “a year-on-year growth of 30%, multiplying its capacity by 2.75 in this period, reaching 150 terabytes of capacity between all territories.

Other projects
In 2023, the 2Africa 2023 is scheduled to come into operation, which along its 37,000 kilometers will link Barcelona and Tenerife with some thirty African cities spread over the entire perimeter of the black continent. For now, China Mobile, Facebook, MTN Group, Orange, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC will be clients of this infrastructure.

This cable will provide the service that ACE currently offers (17,000 kilometers) along the west coast of Africa, with anchorage in Granadilla (Canary Islands), as well as Penmarch (France) and Carcavelos (Portugal), among its European stops. The 28,000-kilometer FLAG Europe-Asia (FEA) cable connects the nodes of Porthcurno, in the United Kingdom, with those of Estepona in Malaga to reach Japan, passing through Italy, Egypt, the Suez Canal, Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia, China, Thailand and South Korea. The Marea cable (6,600 kilometers) connects the Biscayan beach of Sopelana with Virginia Beach, owned by Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius.

The SAT-3 / WASC cable (14,350 kilometers), starts in Chipiona and Alta Vista to reach South Africa, along the west coast of Africa. The Indian giant Tata has deployed its 3,578-kilometer Tata TGN-Western Europe to connect the United Kingdom with Bilbao and Portugal’s Seixal. The West Africa Cable System (14,530 kilometers) connects the nodes of El Goro (Canary Islands) with the west coast of Africa. Alpal 2 (312 kilometers) connects Mallorca with Algeria, while Atlantis 2 (8,500 kilometers) crosses the Atlantic from Conil (Cádiz), to Brazil and Argentina.

Balalink connects Mallorca with Valencia (274 kilometers) and the same Balearic island also communicates with Gavá (Barcelona) through Penbal 5 (309 kilometers). Canalink (1,835 kilometers) does the same between Rota and Conil with the Canary archipelago, passing through Asilah (Morocco).

The Orval (770 kilometers) connects Valencia with Oran and Algiers (Algeria). Within the Canary community is the Candalta (110 kilometers) to twin Alta Vista (Gran Canaria) with Candelaria (Tenerife), or La Gomera-Hierro (100 kilometers).

The same community is linked to the Peninsula by Pencan 8 (1,400 kilometers) between Tenerife’s Candelaria and Cádiz’s Conil and Pencan 9 (1,398 kilometers), between Chipiona (Cádiz) and Tarahales, in Gran Canaria. Between the two Canarian capitals there is SubCan Link 1 (143 kilometers), SubCan Link 2 (136 kilometers), Tenerife-Gran Canaria (110 kilometers), Tenerife- La Palma (255 kilometers), Tenerife-La Gomera- La Palma (222 kilometers), the Transcan (238 kilometers), between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and between the beaches of Agüimes and Morrojable, on Gran Canaria, as well as on TransCan 3, between Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

The Two Continents (95 kilometers) also stand out, in the Strait of Gibraltar, between La Línea and Tarifa and the beaches of Benítez and de la Ribera, neighboring Tangier; and the Estepona-Tetuán cable (113 kilometers).