Gathering Momentum

In the background, the experts in NEC’s factories in Japan have begun manufacturing the cable itself, and the branching unit, repeaters and terminal equipment. While what can be seen on land is not that impressive, a submarine cable network is complicated. What we are doing is putting vastly precise and expensive electronic equipment, housed in a watertight shell, connected by strings of glass (for the data), copper (for the massive DC current required to power the repeaters in sequence) and steel (for armour) on the deep sea floor. We certainly don’t want to pull it up again to repair it unless absolutely necessary. Some of the components’ design failure rate is once per 25,000 years. It is the same sort of thinking you would put into designing the USS Enterprise, except you can’t even take spares. Redundancy is our middle name.

Here is a repeater for the Palau spur leaving the OCC cable factory in Japan in late February, 2017:

Repeater for the Palau spur leaving the OCC cable factory in Japan in late February, 2017

It is a beautiful piece of work, isn’t it?

Our prefabricated modular Ngaremlengui Cable Landing Station (CLS) has also been completed. It will house the terminal equipment once it has been installed on site. While it is a complicated and sophisticated housing, it does look a lot like a 20-foot shipping container.

Prefabricated modular Ngaremlengui Cable Landing Station (CLS)

We will make it look better once it is on site. Meanwhile, the civil works to prepare the landing site have moved ahead. This work is contracted to Surangel’s Construction. Ground-breaking was in late February 2017. A month and a half later, we can see the base for the CLS is there.

Base for the CLS

This is long term, critical national infrastructure. This week, BSCC’s expert construction engineers have been here in Palau to make sure that everything is done according to Hoyle. Concrete has to be properly cured well in advance of the loads that will be placed on it. We will do this once – and do it right!

The engineer’s assessment on the work so far?

Everything is level - CLS

Everything is on the level! Good job, Surangel’s!

Next milestone is installing the CLS and its infrastructure, which will start next month.

I will blog when things happen, but I will make sure it is at least monthly, so everyone interested can have a fair idea of where we are. We have an email address,, where you can get in touch. If good questions come up, I will answer them here, without any identification of the questioner or questioners.

Happy Trails

Robin Russell