We spoke to Steve Orlando, CEO of Seaborn Networks, about the company’s 10-year anniversary and how recent diversification is helping them stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly evolving market
Seaborn Networks recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary, having grown from a tiny organisation to one of the most exciting players in the subsea space. But the submarine cable industry is changing now more than ever and, as a result, Seaborn is changing too.
Seaborn’s new CEO, Steve Orlando, who joined the business in October 2020, explained to us how the company had successfully made the transition from being reliant purely on data transport to running an IP network.
“I think we did a really good job of diversifying the company,” said Orlando. “Not only was it transport across the main systems in the US and Brazil, it was also establishing an IP network in Brazil.”
Brazil is a booming digital market, with a competitive ISP industry and is a region currently seeing great investment from sectors like cloud providers, gaming, and various content creators. Put together, this makes it a market primed for growth, meaning now is a great time for Seaborn’s IP network development.
“This has done a lot of good things for us. I would not want to be a subsea-only transport company that has tons of supply in the water and heavy price compression. Diversifying the portfolio was really important,” said Orlando. “We’re starting to see a transformation. By the end of 2022 we expect 40% of our revenue stream to be on the IP side, which is clearly an incredible change when we revenue came 100% from transport back in 2017 and 2018.”
Check out the full interview with Steve Orlando from the link above
The value of the branch
In recent years, hyperscalers, like Google and Facebook, have been playing an increasingly large role in the subsea world. They are the key driving force behind many of the industry’s largest cables, which Orlando suitably refers to as ‘megacables’. But while these enormous cables are having huge impact on the sector at large, there remains enormous opportunity when it comes to smaller, more regional deployments.
“We believe the real opportunity is the other 95% that reach out to regional hubs,” explained Orlando. “That’s where the gaming, content, ISP, and streaming customers come into play […] We see a unique opportunity around creating regional hubs off of branching units to establish more eyeball traffic in hard-to-reach parts of the world that are underserved.”
Here, Orlando notes Seaborn’s upcoming connections from its Seabras-1 cable to Recife, in Brazil’s north-eastern state Pernambuco.
“It will be the first ever branching unit that will be going into Recife, we’ll have a cable landing station, we’ll develop a Tier 3 neutral data centre, and it will attract edge connectivity from technology companies, wholesale, and enterprises.”
Ultimately, the submarine ecosystem is changing, with soaring demand and the entrance of new players forcing submarine players to integrate more closely with the wider industry. From data centres to terrestrial network providers, the immense amount of investment in the sector is driving discussions between the industry more than ever before.
“The ecosystem evolution is really interesting,” said Orlando. “You see more and more private equity firms that own data centre companies and more data centre companies thinking about cable landing stations. […] That ecosystem of cable landing station campuses, data centres, and multiple subsea systems, plus planning ahead for the next 10–20 years, is attracting a lot of investment.”
“More and more we’re starting to see people bleed into each other’s business, and I think that’s healthy for competition and for optionality for customers,” he concluded.
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