Undersea Telecommunications Cable Planning & Installation: Technical and Regulatory Challenges and How Mapping of Data Helps to Solve Them

Dan Marquis & Ron Rapp

Tyco Electronics Subsea Communications

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018, 3:10pm
Chase 105

The vast and largely unseen network of undersea telecommunications cables that circle the earth provide greater than 98% of all international telephone communication, commerce transactions, and internet data center connectivity that enable social media and video. These intercontinental-scale cables are routed across complex seafloor bathymetry, through the deepest reaches of the oceans, and are subject to numerous fishing, anchoring, and geologic risks. Cable routes are also subject to today’s most sensitive geopolitical risks such as national claims to maritime jurisdiction; many of which are disputed. One objective of cable route planning is to understand the impact of maritime claims and associated regulatory requirements. An understanding of the hazards and risks allow routes to be developed that avoid them and thus prevent telecom traffic interruptions and costly repairs. The collection and mapping of the information used in the planning, survey, installation, and maintenance of a cable system is essential to the success of the cable system. The presentation of the data must be in a spatial, map based format to enable route planning. This talk will focus on the specific aspects of data collection, presentation, and mapping needed for an undersea cable project. We will also describe the important elements of an undersea telecommunications system and how a project is conducted.