SEPTEMBER 7, 2007 — Caucasus Online (Tbilisi, Georgia) contracted Tyco Telecommunications, a business unit of Tyco Electronics (Morristown, NJ), to construct an undersea fiber optic system from Poti, Republic of Georgia, to Varna, Bulgaria. The Black Sea system will then link to Caucasus' terrestrial system and other international carriers, providing Georgian customers with higher-bandwidth direct communications with Western Europe.
Tyco will install a two-fiber-pair, point-to-point system linking the coastal cities through the Black Sea, lighting 40 Gbit/sec. on each fiber pair initially. The resulting fiber connection will carry 64 10-Gbit wavelengths on each pair, totaling about 1.3 Tbits. "The reason for increasing capacity is high demand of data and VoIP, especially Internet, video, and multimedia content," explains Rob Munier, Tyco Telecommunications. Poti's port connection will continue through the Caucasus region on Caucasus' existing land link. From Varna, the network will connect to Sophia, Bulgaria, and the rest of Europe via a developing Caucasus terrestrial line and service agreements with international carriers. "Residential internet use is growing rapidly in Georgia, driving demand for more connectivity. At the same time, the need for a reliable, cost-effective communications pipeline direct to the European network is also growing," adds Munier.
Tyco plans to deploy G3 equipment, citing its small form factor and efficiency in transmission. To combat damage from the cold sea, Tyco will augment its undersea components with technical enhancements. The Black Sea's regional tectonic activity and the anoxic environment below 200-m water depth, which results in relatively high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, are top considerations. "Coatings will be applied to the repeaters, joints and couplings to provide protection from the corrosive effects of the hydrogen sulfide-rich environment," Munier adds. The system will be built to a 25-year engineering design life, along with other capacity, scalability, and robustness requirements set out by Caucasus. "It is crucial to choose the right location for the terminal stations, where both undersea and terrestrial cables will be adequately secure. To do this we will be optimizing our cable station sites for proximity to the undersea cable landings and our redundant terrestrial backhaul routes," Munier says. Tyco will deliver the system in fall 2008.