The British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean island, Montserrat has invited proposals from prospective bidders for installation and operation and maintenance of a submarine fiber optic cable system. The selected operator will plan, design, install, commission, test, operate and maintain that includes repairs on behalf of the Government of Montserrat.
The Montserrat Submarine Fiber Optic Cable is considered to be a strategic national asset for the island. Therefore the selected bidder needs to deliver the project to the Government of Montserrat, which will retain ownership of the cable’s undersea and shore-end segments. The government intends to retain its ownership on the cable landing station in Montserrat and the corresponding international cable landing station to the extent possible.
Prior to 1990s, the island was connected to the Eastern Caribbean Fiber Syatem. Montserrat lost its international connectivity during the 1990s, after the volcanic eruption that led to the decommissioning of the island’s only undersea cable connection, a branch of the Eastern Caribbean Fibre System. The volcanic eruption disrupted the life and communication infrastructures in the island. Montserrat’s international telephony, Internet, and data communications have been routed via microwave to Antigua.
The Government of Montserrat and the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) evaluated the technical and economic feasibility of constructing a submarine fiber optic cable system between Montserrat and one or more neighboring islands. The goal is to re-establish seamless fiber optic connectivity between Montserrat and the rest of the world.
The result of the feasibility assessment showed that a submarine fiber optic cable system is both technically and economically viable and that it would greatly enhance the island’s economic and social development. Residents, Businesses, Government agencies, and institutional clients can enjoy higher-quality, more reliable, and more affordable services. Since connectivity to the island can greatly improve with a fiber system, efficient implementation of beneficial programs such as distance education, telemedicine, and research networking initiatives can also be offered.
The project consists of Submarine & Terrestrial fiber optic network segments, Submarine Optical line terminal equipment, and Submarine cable landing stations or equivalent infrastructure to allow the possible utilization of an existing international cable landing station or equivalent infrastructure outside of Montserrat. The optic communications cable will be an armored and buried type. An initial transmission rate of 10 Gbps is planned but it should be upgradeable to at least 10 Tbps. Bidders may also propose the construction of a dual cable network rather than a single point-to-point cable, a 100 Gbps initial lit capacity, design capacity of 100 Tbps. The implementation of the cable system is expected to begin during the first half of 2019.
The due date for submission of the proposal is 6th March 2019.