Seaborn Networks

Seaborn Nears Funding for Seabras-1

nov 11, 2013 | In The Press

— Dan O’Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

Subsea cable operator Seaborn Networks, which is planning the world’s longest trans-oceanic 100G route — connecting the US and Brazil — appears close to announcing funding for the project after obtaining a “Promise of Guarantee” credit facility from French export credit agency Coface last month.

The operator is aiming to have the new Seabras-1 route — between New York City and Saão Paolo, with another landing point in Fortaleza, Brazil — ready in 2015, in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero. However, Seaborn CEO Larry Schwartz tells us Seaborn Networks LLC isn’t doing it for Olympic glory.

“The primary reason we’re pursuing this project is because there is pent-up demand on that route,” he says. “Our focus is not on the capacity demands generated by sporting events. It will handle that demand, but our focus is really selling 15-year use deals and spectrum sales. We want to sell large blocks of capacity to carriers and other parties.”

Schwartz says that current cables on the US-Brazil route are in most cases more than a decade old and won’t be able to match the 40 Tbit/s capacity of Seabras-1. The project, which Seaborn announced in 2012, is being built by Alcatel-Lucent and already has Tata Communications signed on as an anchor tenant. (See: AlcaLu Wins US-Brazil Subsea Deal, Seaborn to Link US, Brazil, and Tata Comms Takes Seaborn Capacity.)

The last few weeks proved to be busy for Seaborn, as it earned the guarantee from Coface and also found a backhaul partner for the US end of the route in Sunesys. With the Coface guarantee bagged, funding is near, Schwartz says. “Coface is not providing any direct funding. It is a credit guarantee on the project that we can use for further construction. Regarding funding, you’ll see other announcements from us shortly.”

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