Key Facts and Information
What is SubCom?
SubCom, a TE Connectivity Limited company, is one of the world’s
largest providers of advanced global broadband communication solutions. The
company is the world’s only fully integrated supplier with the capabilities to design,
develop, build, install and maintain undersea optical networks for telecommunications
providers and commercial businesses.
What is TE Connectivity?
TE Connectivity is a global, $12.1 billion company that designs and manufactures over
500,000 products that connect and protect the flow of power and data inside the products that touch every
aspect of our lives. Our nearly 100,000 employees partner with customers in virtually every industry—from
consumer electronics, energy and healthcare, to automotive, aerospace and communication networks—enabling
smarter, faster, better technologies to connect products to possibilities. More information on TE Connectivity
can be found
When and why did the company name change from Tyco Telecommunications to SubCom?
SubCom announced its new corporate name in 2010, enabling it to align more closely with its parent company, TE Connectivity,
and reinforce its commitment to designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining the premier subsea cable system around the world. The company’s
management team remains unchanged, and SubCom maintains the existing company headquarters, research and development laboratories, manufacturing facilities,
ships and depots. Further, SubCom continues to offer the same services and innovative technological developments customers and partners have come
to expect throughout the company’s robust history.
How long has SubCom been in operation?
SubCom has its legacy in a number of companies that merged
over the years, but traces its roots back to 1955, when it was Simplex Technologies,
the company that built the American segment of the first transatlantic telephone
cable. SubCom’s modern history begins with Tyco International’s
acquisition of AT&T Submarine Systems to form Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd. (TSSL)
in 1997. In 1999, TSSL bought Telecommunications Marinas, S.A. (Temasa), a wholly
owned subsidiary of Telefonica S.A. (Spain’s national telephone service provider). All of
these companies were combined into one vertically integrated supplier of undersea
networks. Today, under the name SubCom, the company continues
to design, install and maintain undersea systems.
Is SubCom a U.S. based company?
SubCom takes pride in being the only U.S. based supplier of
undersea systems. At SubCom, more than 75% of the staff and 100%
of the wholly owned manufacturing capability resides in the U.S. The company’s
executive headquarters is located in Morristown, NJ and the R&D Labs are based in
Eatontown, NJ. While SubCom is primarily a U.S. based company,
sales and operations staffs work in nearly every corner of the globe.
Does SubCom make all of its equipment?
SubCom manufactures all of the key subsystems required for system
construction. Cable, repeaters and branching units are manufactured at the Tyco
Integrated Cable Systems facility in Newington, NH. The SubCom
facility in Lowell, MA manufactures dry plant equipment. The company also has an
agreement with Hitachi Cable, Ltd., which manufactures SubCom designed
cable in Japan, providing a more cost efficient method for system
construction located in Asia. SubCom is a vertically integrated system
supplier with a full suite of manufacturing capabilities.
What are the capabilities of the SubCom “Reliance Class” fleet?
Although specifically designed and constructed for cable maintenance and
construction, these ships are the most versatile and capable cable ships in the
Our crews are comprised of highly trained and experienced merchant mariners,
submersible engineers and cable operations staff. In addition to typical cable
construction and maintenance activities, these ships provide excellent platforms for
trenching, mattressing, and salvage operations.
What is fiber-optic cable?
Fiber-optic cable is made up of strands of glass, each thinner than a human hair, yet
stronger, length for length, than steel. Each strand acts as a conduit for light waves
that contain enormous amounts of data. The amount of information that can travel
over optic fibers is over a hundred times greater than that of traditional copper wire.
How does SubCom build an undersea network?
The process begins with design and planning, including detailed charting of the
cable route on the bottom of the ocean. SubCom manufactures all
of the primary elements (sub-systems) of a cable network, including the land-based
transmission equipment, the powering equipment, the undersea repeaters and the
Once manufacturing is complete, one or more of SubCom’s vessels
is loaded with the cable and repeaters and begins installing the cable. Using
submersible tools including ROVs and sea plows, SubCom buries the
cable in areas where fishing or shipping present a threat to the safety of the cable,
with a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. SubCom’
expert installation team performs all of the installation work within the cable station
and then tests the entire system before handing it over to the customer.
What is a cable station?
A cable station is a facility for telecommunications
equipment that is a connecting point between undersea and land networks. It could
be considered a “meeting place” for different telecom carriers and ISPs.
What are the practical consumer applications of fiber optic networks?
The most tangible impact fiber-optic networks will have on average consumers will be
in their home. With new homes already being wired directly to optic fibers, the data
transmission capabilities are enormous — hundreds of millions of bits per second. And
with the increased transmission rates, the scope of fiber optics in the home becomes
vast. Beyond ordering any movie on-demand, in the fiber-optic home of the future,
consumers will be able to watch their favorite sports programs from any number of
different views from cameras set up around the stadium; play a three-dimensional,
holographic chess game with a friend on the other side of the world; take a cooking
class in real-time from a teacher in Vienna from the comfort of your own kitchen in
New York, and much more.
What does the future look like with fiber optic networks?
Only time will tell what the true impact fiber-optic networks’ ability to move huge
amounts of information across the globe instantaneously will have on human lives.
As more and more fiber-optic networks come online and the price for transmission
goes down, the rate at which these benefits are realized will increase dramatically.
Even as these predictions are made, fiber-optic networks are increasing their reach
and capacity. There is even research underway to create a network with hollow optic
fibers — allowing light to pass unimpeded through air instead of being refracted by
glass. If this technology comes to fruition, the information-carrying capacity, which
is astronomical today, will be increased 100 times. Once that happens, the idea of
participating in a virtual expedition to the North Pole will seem no more implausible
than calling a friend on your videophone.
Reliance Class Overview/Spec Sheet
The table in the linked PDF details the Fiberoptic Undersea Cable Systems supplied by
SubCom, in whole or in part, since 1986. Note that systems operating
with 10Gb/s equipment are shaded yellow. Repeaterless systems are shaded blue.
SubCom System List (PDF)