Ocean Networks, Inc. (ONI) has launched its Caribbean Express (CX) Project, an 18-fiber pair submarine cable system linking Florida to Panama.
Using the Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technology, The CX system will connect West Palm Beach (Florida), Balboa (Panama), Cancun (Mexico) and Cartagena (Colombia) with high speed, low latency fiber-optic connectivity.
The system will be designed for future connectivity to other countries along the route.
To complete the funding of this $300 million project, ONI has engaged Commenda Inc., an Atlanta-based merchant bank. For the past ten years, Commenda has worked with family offices and corporate, strategic, and governmental funds as well as US and foreign banks to privately fund projects like the Caribbean Express network.
“The consumer demand for a new submarine cable system between Central America and
the US is enormous. Traffic is nearly doubling every two years,” says John R. Runningen,
a founder and principal of Commenda. “As a result, ONI has already received significant
subscriber interest from large IT and telecom customers who are anxious to expand their
presence in these new and under-served consumer markets.”
Several large corporate customers have shown immense interest in either a dedicated fiber pair or managed bandwidth as soon as this high speed SDM system is completed in early 2024, according to ONI. As the importance of a new submarine cable system like ONI’s Caribbean Express is beneficial to both businesses and governments alike, ONI has set up ‘branching Units in strategic locations to communicate with governmental partners interested in the project.
Upon completion CX will be the only system that can offer new dedicated dark fiber pair IRUs in the Caribbean market.
"We are excited about launching this new submarine cable digital superhighway across
the Caribbean.” says Robert Hildebrecht, Ocean Networks’ CFO. “We selected
Commenda to raise the balance of the capital for this project based on the experience of
their team and their successful track record in advising rapidly growing companies like
ONI. With the support of Commenda and the experience of the ONI team, we fully expect
the Caribbean Express cable system to be completed on schedule and under budget”.
In conjunction with the remaining capital commitments, supplier RFQs will be issued next
month to selected system suppliers, with the awarded Contracts in Force (CIF) by July
2021. The estimated Ready for Service (RFS) date will be in early 2024.