Although undersea festoon networks can be found in many parts of the world, one would be hard-pressed to locate a single case in the States. From the perspectives of lower cost, speedier and simpler deployment, as well as indiscernible environmental impact, they should be a slam dunk. Nevertheless, for many years, the permission that is necessary from the various individual localities (all with different requirements) along with the studies that are demanded on both the west and east coasts of the country have made the otherwise practical usage of festoon applications cost-prohibitive, especially given the relatively short distances of the loops in this kind of an infrastructure. It is just one more example of how governmental bodies along with extremists on the environment get in the way of technological progress.
In addressing the relatively small number of influential people in the latter group, their true goal is to undermine the free enterprise system and to promote statism as much as possible. There can be no other explanation when festoon applications would lead to a dramatic decrease in their cherished carbon footprints. Fewer streets would have to be dug up and less exhaust from vehicles would be emitted as there would be a lower amount of congestion in getting around those construction sites. If accomplished in the appropriate manner, there are no evident drawbacks of laying a cable close to the land mass regarding either threats to wildlife or to the coastlines. On a side note, there would also be no obstacles to fishing businesses.
There are three major ways to make festoon submarine networks an effective option in the US:
1) There has to be a streamlining of the permit process from multiple jurisdictions to just the state level.
2) If necessary, much of the cable can be buried, which would eliminate the bulk of interference with other interests.
3) Fisherman in the affected area may need to be compensated during the build-out of the network.
With the last two approaches jacking up the cost significantly, unfortunately, there might a need for some government subsidization. Perhaps the cleanest way to get it done would be for state utilities (which at least theoretically, work for the public benefit) to construct and operate these networks.
The benefits to the nation in moving towards festoon applications are multifold. If a major earthquake were to occur in California, these networks would provide valuable protection. Whenever 5G comes about, they would make a big difference in providing additional backhaul capacity. The elements to make it work are relatively cost-effective in that there is just a bunch of fiber with two terminals on both ends without the necessity for any in-line amplifiers.
Please consider our latest reports, Clash of Metro 100G Optical Vendors with Shifting Network Paradigm and Clash of Optical Component Vendors & Technologies in Data Center Networks. For more frequent updates, please click here.
[written by Mark Lutkowitz]