Upon its completion in 2009, the TGN-Intra Asia (TGN-IA) undersea cable system changed the landscape of the Asia-Pacific region forever, as it delivered new and enhanced abilities for citizens of many countries to communicate with the rest of the world.
Tata Communications’ 6,700km TGN-IA, which was built by SubCom, is a multi-terabit system that connects Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Vietnam and the Philippines. Most importantly, the system provides route diversity throughout the Asia-Pacific region, meeting the ongoing need for increasingly robust international connectivity, while fostering growth and development in the region.
According to Simon Cooper, Sr. VP, Network and Solutions, Tata Communications, the system has already more than proven itself. In 2009, simultaneous cuts to almost all of the region’s key cable systems caused significant outages, while TGN-IA went undisturbed, largely thanks to Tata Communications’ and SubCom’s careful route planning and diversification.
Tata Communications and SubCom had worked closely together to strategically design and route the cable system to avoid earthquake and other hazardous areas in the Asia-Pacific region.
“When we use SubCom’s technology, we plug it into the box and it works. When you put the cable on the seabed in the right place as was agreed, it sits there for 25 years and it works. And I think having that reputation and keeping that reputation is critical,” said Cooper
Cooper said SubCom’s flexibility and understanding of Tata Communications’ needs and goals, including the need to diversify and plan for the future, played a key role in the company’s decision to select SubCom as its supplier.
“When you’re locking yourself into a relationship that’s going to last three years (in the case of a construction contract) and 25 years from a maintenance point of view, you want to know that they are committed to supporting you,” said Cooper.
Cooper pointed toward SubCom’s flexibility and cooperative approach to completing the project as factors that contributed to the companies’ joint success.
“Having an ability to not stick to hard and fast guidelines and actually react to customer requirements is very important,” he said. “It should not be an ‘us and them’ situation. Once the contracts are signed, it’s ‘we’re a team’ and our joint goal is to deliver the thing as quickly and painlessly as possible.”
Despite the typical issues that hit massive construction projects such as TGN-IA, that philosophy held true and remains throughout the companies’ ongoing upgrade and maintenance projects. With cable systems around the world, Tata Communications continues to rely on SubCom’s technology and offerings, in order to serve its customers.
“SubCom delivered quality materials and they’re always developing new solutions, which we appreciate,” said Cooper. “Working together with our suppliers to support what is the new world of communications—in terms of speed to market and a constant need to upgrade—is the fundamental thing that we focus on.”
Cooper also praised SubCom for its marine tools and fleet of cable ships, which were specifically designed for cable construction and maintenance and are capable of sustained cable operations in harsh conditions around the globe.
“Having a global fleet that’s ready to deploy in relatively short order because you’ve got the engineers and the techniques and the technology behind it, is very important,” said Cooper.