When first-time submarine cable builder Matrix Networks decided to deliver a privately owned subsea cable to Indonesia, the company faced a host of challenges – not the least of which was its ultimate goal to provide robust, high-bandwidth connectivity to a vastly underserved and rapidly growing Indonesian market. Finding a quality supplier with which to partner was of utmost importance. Matrix determined both the technology offerings and reputation of the supplier would be critical in making its decision. After a comprehensive search, the company selected SubCom as its supply partner and the results have been remarkable.
“When we were looking at suppliers, we looked at the cable engineering,” said Jim Schweigert, Executive Vice President of Matrix Networks. “Just SubCom’s marine engineering expertise and the track record of their wet plant was impressive. We also talked to other system operators who said that the wet plant of SubCom was number one in the industry, and that was a major factor.”
Beyond SubCom’s leading technology, Schweigert stressed the importance of working with a proven and reputable supplier.
“As a new player in the market competing with the incumbent monopoly players of the past, we had very little credibility in the marketplace. So the major carriers in the world would not consider us. When they realized that we had SubCom as a supplier, we had instant credibility in the marketplace…Even today people are saying, ‘We know your system was built by SubCom; it’s the best.’ And that recognition in the marketplace of quality was of paramount importance.”
Completed in 2008, the 1,000km Matrix Cable System connects Indonesia to Singapore and the rest of the world. The system is comprised of a four-fiber pair trunk between Singapore and Jakarta, with a branch to Batam in the Riau Islands Province. The system’s capacity is nearly 2.6 Terabits between Singapore and Jakarta, and there are an additional four fiber pairs between Singapore and Batam, providing another 2.6 Terabits of capacity. Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology supports the transmittal of 64 10-Gigagbit wavelengths on each fiber pair.
The original concept of the Matrix Cable, it was a point-to-point Singapore to Jakarta system. In the process of developing the contract, a branching unit was added to Batam, and two other branching units have been deployed and stubbed for future use.
The system was also designed specifically for upgrades. SubCom’s flexibility not only enabled upgrades in the future, but the first upgrade was completed during construction of the system.
“Since we’ve been in service, SubCom has been very supportive, probably more than would be expected. They’ve bent over backwards to help us, so we’re very grateful for that,” said Schweigert.
Schweigert went on to add that each stage of the project was completed on time and on budget, which was essential for both Matrix and the benefit of the region.
Prior to the activation of the Matrix system, Indonesia had a closed telecommunication economy. However, Matrix, with the help of SubCom and other partners, lead the way in opening the region, delivering affordable communications to residents and boosting business capabilities.
“Today, we have more capacity [lit] in Indonesia than all of the other [service providers] combined in history,” said Schweigert. “We’re seeing the Internet capacity, in particular, just growing phenomenally and prices are dropping. So it’s good for the country and it’s good for us.”