Total Telecom caught up with Philippe Dumont, CEO, EllaLink Group, to discuss how the new EllaLink cable will revolutionise connectivity between Europe and Latin America

What trends are you noticing developing in the subsea industry at the moment? 

Apart from the obvious increase in the number of systems being driven by the ICP’s, what’s particularly noticeable is a rise in the number of independent infrastructure projects coming to fruition. EllaLink is an obvious example of a new comer to this build model, already successfully employed by the likes of Aqua Comms, Seabras and Hawaiki. Funding, implementing and operating systems in this way is far less complex than the traditional consortium modus operandi and allows for faster decision making processes which obviously aids speed to market.   We see a huge potential for traffic growth from Latin America which is borne out by the number of proposed local and transoceanic systems being built in the region, EllaLink, SAEX, ARBR and Malbec to name a few.


Construction on the EllaLink submarine cable system has just begun – what will be the key challenges you need to overcome?

There are a variety of challenges when commencing any new system build, selecting the best route is key both from a design perspective but also with respect to permitting, diversity and customer demand. Obviously survey and marine installation operations face the challenges posed by mother nature, and backhaul implementation can face infrastructure and timing constraints. Our network offers a PoP to PoP solution meaning that alongside the subsea system there will be a number of secure terrestrial routes put in place to connect our end users.  The open access carrier neutral solution offered by EllaLink will certainly help our customers reduce the operational and financial challenges that many other systems pose!

EllaLink has a highly experienced management team made up of professionals who have all been deeply involved with new system builds, both globally and in-region. Together with experts from Alcatel Submarine Networks, our system supplier, we are fully equipped to address all the usual challenges and any others that may come our way.


How did you decide on the routing of the cable? 

The whole ethos of the EllaLink system was to provide a direct connection between Europe and Latin America. Currently traffic on this path is routed via North America and hence the latency is high. EllaLink’s design will allow for savings of around 60ms on the Round Trip Delay between Sines and Fortaleza which makes a huge difference to the end customers, particularly in the banking and high frequency trading sector. Another benefit of the route we selected was its diversity from all the other transatlantic systems. With many cables landing in the same locations both in North America and Europe, EllaLink offers a truly unique solution for anyone looking to improve redundancy in their network. The marine route, burial and cable design is being engineered to ensure maximum security of the wet plant.


As well as providing a much needed link between Europe and The Americas, EllaLink will also land in Cape Verde. What will the cable do for connectivity on the remote African islands?

As the EllaLink route crosses waters close to the Cabo Verde Islands, the government of Cabo Verde and its operator CVT saw a great opportunity to drastically improve the internet connectivity of the country for a marginal cost. It was a wise decision and certainly the best economically when compared to a direct cable to the continent.


Looking ahead, what future plans does the EllaLink Group have for submarine cable projects after EllaLink?

The EllaLink Group are planning two main extensions from Fortaleza, the first being a connection to São Paulo and the second an extension named ‘GuyaLink’. GuyaLink is a branch of the EllaLink system that will start at the nose of Fortaleza and go to French Guyana.    French Guyana is home to the European Space Agency spaceport (CNES), so it’s a very strategic, different and important place for Europe. GuyaLink isn’t being driven by traffic demand, as there’s actually very little capacity required, it’s about connecting one of the most strategic locations for Europe to Europe. The traffic from French Guyana will go directly to Europe without any stops, which is hugely advantageous when compared to the existing route of Fortaleza and then to Miami and on to Europe. It’s currently an expensive route with poor latency and inadequate security, GuyaLink will effectively address this issue.


Philippe Dumont, CEO, EulaLink will be speaking at this year’s Submarine Networks EMEA 2019 event in London. Philippe will be sharing the latest updates on its’ EllaLink cable project on Day 1 during the News in Brief session at 11.40 am. For an evening of networking and drinks, EllaLink will be hosting a reception at the event on Day 1, 17.30 onwards in the exhibition hall. CLICK HERE for a full agenda and details of how you can be involved.