Alaska Communications, Hawaiki Cable strike landing, operation agreement in Oregon

Submarine cable network Hawaiki TE Subcom
Image: Hawaiki Submarine Cable

Alaska Communications has been selected by Hawaiki Submarine Cable to be the New Zealand-based company’s landing and operating partner in Oregon, marking another step to establish the submarine cable company's presence in the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alaska Communications will be the landing partner of Hawaiki in mainland U.S. and operate the Hawaiki cable landing station at Pacific City, Oregon.

Hawaiki will run its proposed 14,000 km trans-Pacific cable between Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

After completing the marine survey of the 4,000 km segment between Pacific City and Honolulu, Hawaiki said securing its Oregon operations through a Landing Party Agreement with Alaska Communications is another key milestone in completing its new submarine cable network.

Hawaiki, which is currently completing the marine survey, has also signed a supply contract with TE SubCom that includes turnkey services such as a desktop study, site visits, marine survey of the cable route, system manufacturing, and laying the cable. TE SubCom will also commission the system before it goes into commercial service mid-2018.

Gina Bohreer, senior vice president North America for Hawaiki, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that Oregon has a number of unique advantages to be a landing station for its submarine cable network, including a simple permitting process and access to nearby networks and data centers.

“Hawaiki chose Oregon because the state permitting process is very efficient and Oregon is diverse from current California submarine landings with easy access to multiple U.S. networks and data centers,” Bohreer said. “There is very little construction involved, as Hawaiki cable will land in an existing cable station in Pacific City.”

This agreement has potential benefits for Hawaiki and Alaska Communications.

By locating a landing station in Oregon, Hawaiki makes itself a more attractive network connectivity source for a host of service providers in the United States and Asia Pacific that either need to distribute content or provide connectivity to other business service sites outside of their network footprints. Already, Hawaiki has attracted Amazon Web Services, which purchased capacity on Hawaiki two years before its scheduled launch.

The landing site will also attract more fiber-based providers that can provide connectivity to these sites, giving Hawaiki's customers more network access choices.

Competitive carriers are also extending their fiber networks to submarine cable landing sites. In May, Electric Lightwave established a direct route from the Bay Area to Hillsboro, Oregon, bypassing Portland and enabling direct access to a key Oregon data center cluster and cable landing stations, for example.

Meanwhile, Alaska Communications -- which already oversees nearby submarine cables -- could further establish itself as a willing partner for other emerging subsea cable routes.

“This continues to position Alaska Communications as the submarine cable operator and manager of choice on the U.S. West coast. Today, Alaska Communications manages two geographically diverse, submarine cables between Alaska and the Pacific Northwest,” the company said in a release. “We have leveraged our expertise in submarine cable operations to provide landing station and network management capabilities to several other Trans Pacific submarine systems.”

The submarine cable market is on the rise. According to TeleGeography’s latest Submarine Cable Map, there are 321 cable systems that are currently active, under construction, or expected to be fully-funded by the end of 2016. Within this map, TeleGeography reported that 293 submarine cables are in-service with 28 more planned.


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