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Amitié Subsea Cable’s Impact on Transatlantic Connectivity

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Aqua Comms, Meta, Microsoft, and Vodafone have collectively reported the successful implementation of the Amitié subsea cable system. This cable represents the first direct link between Boston and Europe, as well as Bordeaux and North America. Spanning 6,783 km (4,215 miles), this transatlantic marvel, engineered and built by Alcatel Submarine Networks, has critical landing points in Lynn, Massachusetts; Widemouth Bay, England; and Le Porge, France. The system, boasting 16 fiber pairs and a capacity of 400 Tbps, has set a new record for transoceanic communications cables.

The design of the Amitié cable system provides enhanced connectivity options for users in the United States, the UK, and France. Users will enjoy a direct link from Boston to London, facilitated by a newly constructed Carrier Neutral Data Center in Bordeaux. This setup ensures reliable protected capacity on several diverse paths.

The Amitié system showcases an ingenious branching unit situated 860 km from France and 650 km from the UK. This unit allows the owners to manipulate either individual optical wavelengths between different landings or the entire fiber capacity, using two distinct types of switching technologies.

Andy Hudson, Chief Network Officer of Aqua Comms voiced his sentiment: “Amitié, branded as AEC-3 on Aqua Comms’ network, adds a third high-capacity system to our transatlantic footprint offering enhanced diversity in both the US and Europe and delivering the latest technology to our customers.”

Riding the same wave, Gary Waterworth, Investment Manager at Meta echoed: “Amitié will increase telecommunications reliability, speed, and diversity of subsea cable routes between the continents, helping to improve transmission capacity in North America and Europe. It’s a great example of tech and telecom companies collaborating to build digital infrastructure to benefit the countless people, businesses, and organizations who rely on global connectivity.”

Nearly mirroring these thoughts, Frank Rey, General Manager, Azure Networking at Microsoft shared: “As public and private sectors deepen their reliance on cloud technologies for economic growth and service improvement, Amitié will advance both resiliency and capacity for customers using our cloud services.”

Fanan Henriques, Director, Vodafone Business International & EU-Cluster, wrapped up the comments by stating: “As a significant investor in submarine cables, Vodafone was able to bring its strong heritage and extensive expertise to the partnership. With transatlantic total bandwidth growth forecasted to increase six-fold over the next five years, it is essential that we keep our customers, partners and communities connected to vital services enabling the digital economy. The completion of the Amitié subsea cable will strengthen connectivity and add resilience between the U.S., France and the UK.”

Research has indicated that subsea cables can enhance national and regional economies, paving the way for the development of terrestrial fiber and resultant local economic growth. For evidence, one need only look to the high-capacity transoceanic cable Marea, funded by Meta and Microsoft, that’s been contributing an annual sum of about $18 billion to Europe’s economy since 2019.

In conclusion, The Amitié cable was finally commissioned, tested, and handed over to the four partner companies on July 16, 2023. This project was accomplished through a Joint Build Agreement, an exercise in close cooperation between the partners, the supplier, and the landing providers.

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